By  on October 28, 2008

At 29, Angela Lindvall has already had more of a green education than most of her contemporaries. When the Midwest City, Okla., native arrived in New York at age 17 to model, “I [began] looking into what was in our food, water and the air, and started getting environmental disaster anxiety,” she said. “I felt like, ‘Why isn’t this on the front page of the newspaper?’”

As her career took off — she has been the face of Valentino, Dior, Cavalli, Chloé, DKNY and Jimmy Choo, among others — Lindvall created a mock-up for a green magazine with some friends. At 23 she became pregnant with her first son, William Dakota, who is now six (she also has a three-year-old son, Sebastian) just before the 9/11 attacks in 2001. “Back then no one knew what sustainability meant,” Lindvall said. “I went around New York City with my mock magazine and my big belly and people were not interested at all in the subject matter. They just wanted to know how it made money.” Hachette Filipacchi didn’t buy it, but they did connect her with a media company that enabled her to form the Web site Collage, a nonprofit hub for green minds in creative fields.

Lindvall has since become the style expert on “Alter Eco,” a new makeover show on the Planet Green network. She also works with organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Green, which bills itself as the only national nonprofit environmental organization. Another pet project is Camp Hill Farms, an organic farm in upstate New York that has developed a model for local food production in cooperation with local government (with hopes that it can be implemented nationally).

In her Los Angeles neighborhood of Topanga Canyon, an area known for its rustic-hippie community, Lindvall tries to practice her own green lifestyle by buying locally grown food and organic products whenever possible, using a water filtration system instead of bottled water, composting, recycling, having candlelit dinner parties and “lights out” time, and driving a hybrid car. She also hopes to get her own chickens and install solar panels in her home next year. “The key is to start with our own households, then our communities, then our towns and then our cities and so forth,” she said. “The smallest thing everyone could do is just to consume less, to take into consideration what we need in our lives. When you do buy something, buy something that’s going to last a lifetime as opposed to something you’re going to have to replace five times.”

Even a model and clotheshorse can find balance, Lindvall emphasizes. “I’ve been in fashion for a long time, and there are a lot of things I love,” she said. “You can still make conscious choices and get designer things. You can buy things from Chanel and from Dior that are going to last a long time because they’re using high-quality fibers, and mix that in with vintage and eco stuff.” Among her favorite eco fashion labels are Velvet Leaf, Elena Garcia, the Battallion and Brown Label jeans. For beauty, she favors the store Vert, based in Venice, Calif., as well as the brands Lluvia, Weleda and Dr. Hauschka. At home she opts for furniture by companies such as Tom Brady, which uses repurposed materials like wood chips and milk jugs.

Lindvall stresses that every little bit counts — and it can start in fashion. “It’s a great platform for this movement because you can show that you don’t have to jeopardize your style or your lifestyle,” she said. “We can start integrating sustainable ways of doing things in the fashion industry. These young designers show that there are solutions out there.”

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