Cara G Mcilroy embodies our trailblazers; she counts model, TV host, blogger, founder of Genie Juicery and ‘Mum’ within her varied roles, which she stylishly dresses, here in The R Collective, with her infectious fashion flare that matches her passion for healthy eating and wellness.
What made you more interested in sustainable fashion?
I guess the main reason I became interested was though my friend Craig Leeson, whom I'd say is very definitely an environmentalist. I met him ten years ago and he taught me how important it is to be aware of what's going on in the world, constantly keeping me updated and aware of the pollution caused by plastic and fabric. It's so sad. I'm not going to name any brands but you buy clothes these days and they’re not made to last. Back in the day, you'd buy a piece of clothing and you knew you'd be able to pass it on to your children, because the quality was so good. Today, clothing doesn't seem to last as long, which is why being able to repurpose your fabrics has become so important.
What lifestyle and fashion changes have you made to become more sustainable?
As a mother, I make a big effort to ask my friends who have slightly older kids for their their clothes that they no longer fit into. Kids' clothing is particularly vulnerable to waste partly because they wear garments for such a short time before growing out of them. Also, look for brands that have some kind of social-conscious element. There are a lot of big brands, such as H&M, who are trying to change, even though they may not yet be 100% perfect. Look out for brands that take unwanted clothes back and make efforts to recycle.
What suggestions do you have for how people can get involved, which online resources to use, and which people to follow?
I learn a lot from the charities that approach me. If you're interested in making your life more sustainable, look into charities because they’re actually an excellent source of information for whatever you're interested in. If you have a passion for sustainable fashion, Google which charities are active in this area and they can help you with information about brands which practise sustainability. For information about the environment and what's going on in the world, I look at National Geographic, as well as talking to friends like Craig- he's a great source of knowledge. There are also a lot of eco magazines now. There’s a lot of things you can do - like the beach clean-ups I'm involved in. Every time I go to these events I meet people who are passionate about different things and sustainable charities, so I think meeting and being among people who are passionate about changing the world - thats the best resource to me.
Cara G wears the UPCYCLED CUT-OUT BACK BLAZER IN IVORY || Photo credit: Carina Fischer
What was the inspiration for starting your blog and business?
I've always been passionate about healthy eating and wellness. I've struggled with health issues in the past, so I suppose it seemed like a natural way to heal and detoxify myself. During my travels I noticed a lot of businesses who were already doing these things, but there was a real gap in the market in Hong Kong. I had been waiting for an opportunity to start my own business, so when I got back I signed up and studied holistic nutrition and went from there. It kind of just worked together.
As for my blog, it just seemed like a natural progression. The internet is the biggest resource right now and so starting a blog seemed like the easiest way to reach an audience. People always ask me for my recipes, or advice about fashion, travel and kids, and so I thought that creating a blog would be a great way to answer those questions and become a resource. It’s fun and it's something I can do at home. When you’re a model, you don't have any creative control over shoots or what you do, you’re always just the mannequin. Writing a blog gives me creative control and the freedom to do what I want. Hopefully, I can answer these questions and inspire people to live healthy lives, which I think is awesome.
You’re a busy mum with two gorgeous young children. What’s the secret to looking so good on presumably so little time?
Thanks, but it's all down to make-up! if there was a filter I could use the whole day without make-up that would be so great. I guess I eat well and exercise, don't drink much, don't do drugs or any of those toxic things. I'm out in nature all the time, out in the sun, in the waterfalls, enjoying life, so maybe that helps.