The Aussie Label Choosing Models Based on their Eco-Credentials


Why green is the new black.

Dress size, waist measurement, height, pout-ability. These are the usual attributes a creative director looks for in a model when casting a campaign. But when Cotton On BODY – a sibling brand of Cotton On – were choosing the cast for their latest marketing montage, they focused on a different credential – a model’s dedication to saving the planet. The models, Zippora “Zippy” Seven and Jess Buchanan, were both chosen for their interest in ocean conservation, for the campaign which was shot at Mackay Cay in The Great Barrier Reef.

“When scouting talent for our campaigns, we’ve moved from selecting talent solely based on their physical attributes and more towards choosing talent that have a story that aligns with our overarching campaign,” says Renee Smith, global marketing and e-commerce manager. “Both Zippy and Jess have a connection to, and passion for, conserving our world’s oceans. We understand that [our customers] are more socially and environmentally conscious than ever and want to know that, as a brand, we are too.”

Whilst Jess, a sea lover from South Africa, is involved in a number of causes devoted to ocean conservation and animal protection, Zippy is part of The Surfrider Foundation – a searoots organisation dedicated to the protection of Australia’s waves and beaches. She also recently swapped her New York apartment for life on a sailboat.

“Holding the shoot at the Great Barrier Reef was a conscious decision we made to not only capture the beauty of the reef, but also use it as an opportunity to raise awareness,” says Renee. Partnering with Tourism and Events Queensland, the brand will be sharing educational content across their social media channels about conservation efforts being made to protect the reef’s coral – and the steps every person can take to help (“research eco-tour operators, join a cleanup operation”).

Recently, Cotton On BODY launched its Be a Little Greener campaign (with every purchase, customers received a free cheat sheet with tips to live low-waste). This time, they’re encouraging fans to visit the reef, coaxed by a behind-the-scenes video from the photoshoot. They also hope to boost numbers for Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a social movement to unite people from around the world to learn about the area’s threats and challenges. As a company, The Cotton On Group are dedicated to ethical-sourcing.

So, how green was the shoot itself? “We made sure [cast and crew] used water bottles with their names written on them so we reduced waste,” says Renee. “When making our way to Mackay Sand Cay, in order to reduce our footprint, we had a lovely local boatman take us to the location on a paddle board, one by one – with all of our equipment – so that we didn’t get too close to the coral. All in all, we made 36 trips and back, but it was worth the effort.”

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