Lily Cole became one of the UK’s most iconic models following a chance encounter, but by 16, she had booked the cover of British Vogue and went on to appear in campaigns for Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton, among many others. She has also dabbled in acting, most recently appearing in Snow White and the Huntsman. We especially love her for making her mark in eco friendly innovations and social entrepreneurship, proving that she is a woman of compassion and heart, as well as beauty. Two of her recent projects have seen her support the protection of the Amazon Rainforest and encourage a more community- minded society. Deets below.
Impossible is a new social networking concept which encourages people to offer their skills and services for free, with the ultimate aim of creating a ‘gift economy.’ Backed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Cole created an app that allows people to offer their talents with no expectation for recompense (as opposed to a paid or barter system). Like Facebook, Impossible is getting its first audience inside university walls. As an alumni of the prestigious Cambridge University (even achieving a double first in the History of Art in 2011!), Cole launched the app to students first, in the hope that their feedback will see a much improved version launched nationally in Britain. To celebrate, Lily also took part in a debate at the Cambridge Union Society on the idea of whether an economy based on giving is impossible.
So far, the app has seen people offer their skills in all sorts of ways, from speaking German to baking cakes and drawing portraits. The inspired idea for Impossible came from Cole’s trip to a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border, where she said the sense of community she witnessed was so humbling, it sparked the sentiment for it to exist elsewhere. In the true spirit of giving, any profits gained by the venture will be reinvested into the company or used to support other social ventures.
Ethical Jewelry Design
Cole recently made a foray into the design world, teaming up with stylistpick.com to launch a range of bracelets, rings and pendants to support the protection of the Amazon rainforest. In fact, the pieces in the collection are actually made using Amazonian wild rubber. The collaboration came about after Cole was approached by Sky Rainforest Rescue last year and offered a trip to Brazil, to learn more about wild rubber tapping; she was involved in production process from the rubber tapping itself, right through to final production. Drawing on her own sense of style, the final look and feel of the collection is inspired by an African pendant that she owns. (It’s comes as no surprise then that her favorite piece in the collection is a long pendant!)
The overall aim of the project is to save a billion trees in the Amazon, and Cole is now an ambassador for Sky Rainforest Rescue. In fact, she has even enlisted the support of fashion veteran Vivienne Westwood, who designed a dress for her to wear to the Met Ball earlier this year—from the same wild rubber that is used in the jewelry.
It’s for both of the thoughtful, stylish projects above that we name Lily Cole a compassioneer!