The geek has had a glow-up, says Sarah Macken with brainy influencers rocking a prim, trim look with particular style signatures …
Spot this new breed of intellectual influencer by a few tell-tale signs. They might be wearing a dress from a planet-friendly, genderless fashion label, sipping a black-as-tar coffee (from a keep-cup) or clutching a copy of David Attenborough’s memoirs like it’s the latest Dior Lady tote. Or, perhaps they founded a sustainable start-up – which they’re going to tell you about in great detail.
Late-life geek Indré Rockefeller (pictured above) was US president of Spanish fashion house Delpozo as well as a creative director at Moda Operandi. But, in 2016, Rockefeller co-founded Paravel, a sustainably-minded luggage brand that’s high on luxury, low on impact. Additionally, she enrolled at Columbia Climate School to study climate change. Her geeky Ivy League look features neckerchiefs, Peter Pan-collar blouses and plenty of tweed. There’s an eco-friendly silicone lunchbox too, of course.
Pictured above: In 2021, climate activist Mikaela Loach, 24, took the British government to court for giving taxpayers’ money to oil and gas companies.
Current pin-up of conscious consumption is creative director at Chloé, Gabriela Hearst. The maison received B-Corps Certification in late 2021; the first luxury fashion house in Europe to do so. Another woman using fashion for the greater good is founder of ShareJoy, Anne-Marie Tomchak, who auctions pre-loved clothes from A-listers, donating proceeds to Pieta House. As the former digital director of Vogue reminds us, “What’s in your wardrobe has the power to transform lives.”
Pictured above: Former model Mara Carfagna was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Forza Italia party in 2006.
In 2020, Lyst, the fashion search platform, branded politicians as the new fashion influencers. Female leaders across the EU – Mara Carfagna, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, prime minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen and the Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin – lean into blouses, spectacles, scarves and tweeds. Kamala Harris leans into pantsuits and a classic string of pearls. It’s a geeky uniform that says, I’m whipsmart, sure, but I’m conscious, considerate, kind (and into comfort, especially when I wear my trademark Converse).
Policy-makers know that their fashion choices can have as much impact as what they posit in parliament. Harris significantly wore black designers Pyer Moss and Christopher John Rogers the week of the presidential inauguration.
Sometimes, geek chic goes viral, too. It was early days in the Covid-19 crisis when White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx’s silk scarves gained their own Instagram account, (@deborahbirxscarves). Look to genderless label Telfar, created by Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens; demand for its Bushwick Birkin tote soared by 270 per cent when Alexandria Ocasio Cortez posted hers to Instagram.
Israeli Inna Braverman co-founded sustainable energy company Eco Wave Power at just 24.
Listen to Irish-American climate advocate and academic Dr Cara Augustenborg’s podcast Down to Earth.
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