Christy Turlington is All About the Journey
Ahead of the new Conscious Exclusive Collection, Christy Turlington Burns talks about career highlights, sustainability and the women that inspire her.
It’s midnight and we’re listening to the speaker phone ring 8,106 kilometres across the Atlantic, the whole of America and into Christy Turlington Burns’ office in California. We’re connected to one of fashion’s most influential names with a short introduction: ‘Christy’s on.’ As evenings go, this is an incomparable way to spend a night.
The former supermodel, whose name is synonymous with off-duty cool, has been setting an empowered agenda for women since she began working in her teens. Thirty years later her iconic status has continued to inspire younger generations.
H&M Magazine is reaching out ahead of the launch of our Conscious Exclusive Collection. With her timeless beauty coupled with an activist approach to women’s health, Christy embodies positive change and sustainability in all senses. It’s also a combination that makes her the perfect fit to front a collection with consciousness at its core.
If I were to look back at images, what felt most like me would be really simple, classic pieces.
CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS
Christy is open and friendly, sincere and a little self-deprecating. She’s just landed in LA from New York, but is far from being tired. Her dynamic, motivated outlook is palpable. Over the phone she shares her approach towards wellness, where “the journey part of travelling is as important as what happens when you get there.”
It’s a mindset that seems to go beyond her approach to flying. Christy founded the charitable organisation Every Mother Counts in 2010. Her journey from fashion superstar to philanthropic leader reflects a philosophy that values experience as much as the end result.
To date she has been recognised as one of Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’, held advisory positions at Harvard and completed six marathons. That’s the kind of super (role) model we need in 2018.
Christy took time out of her packed schedule to talk modelling highlights, developing classic style and why the future of sustainable fashion is exciting.
WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE YOU WERE GIVEN WHEN YOU STARTED WORKING?
"The advice that stands out the most was ‘enjoy the experiences, take advantage of the opportunities.’ Especially with travelling because that was one of the initial incentives for doing the work in the first place: seeing the world, being able to get a bit of perspective."
WHAT WERE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE SHOWS, AND WHY?
"With John there would always be a bit of theatre, so I’d say Galliano put on the best shows of my era. The location would be surprising and exciting every time. I’m not particularly theatrical and I appreciated it more as an audience member than as a participant."
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
"I have always been more minimalist than anything. If I were to look back at images, what felt most like me would be really simple, classic pieces. I don’t want to bring extra attention to myself, so usually it’s more subtle, earthy and natural."
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STAYING WELL WHEN ON THE GO?
"I think of travel actually as a part of my well-being. It’s a time when I can unplug and not be available. It’s important to do that in life."
WHY DID YOU FEEL CONNECTED TO H&M’S CONSCIOUS EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION?
"To learn about what H&M were trying to do and what they had achieved was exciting and interesting. That beautiful clothes could come from repurposed materials – it’s not impossible and it’s really nice when you see it all come together like that. I was excited that they’ll be able to expose so many people to sustainable fashion."
Sustainable fashion can be more practical or more about expression. It can be anything.
CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS
THE COLLECTION IS BASED AROUND THE STRENGTH AND CREATIVITY OF KARIN LARSSON. WHICH WOMEN INSPIRE YOU?
"Running a non-profit, I have people in my life every day who are inspiring because they provide healthcare for women. It’s so critical and so important. One woman who always comes to mind is a friend and colleague, Jennie Joseph. She’s a midwife; an incredible provider and incredibly committed to the work she does. Those are the kind of people I’m inspired by on a daily basis."
DOES SUSTAINABLE STYLE HAVE TO BE TIMELESS?
"The pieces in this collection are very classic, but the technology is there and there’s no limit to what it can be used for. Sustainable fashion can be more practical or more about expression. It can be anything."
YOU FOUNDED EVERY MOTHER COUNTS IN 2010. WHAT WAS THE JOURNEY TO STARTING THE CHARITY?
"It wasn’t an immediate ‘Oh, I’m going to start a non-profit’. After complications that I experienced during the birth of my daughter, who is now 14, I thought about how I could contribute and how the experience had connected me with other women in the world. I made a documentary film called No Woman, No Cry. That opened the door to questions of ‘how do we keep people engaged, how do we activate them?’"
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF THE ORGANISATION ACHIEVING SO FAR?
"There are hundreds of thousands of women who are impacted by the films we make and the work that we do. To have even affected one life is pretty powerful. This is just the beginning of what we’ll be able to do. We’re looking for sustainable change that goes well beyond ourselves, well beyond any one country. It’s a global goal."
WHAT MANTRA SHOULD EVERY WOMAN PRACTICE?
"Not every woman has the choices that they need to be able to keep themselves healthy. What to eat, what to wear – these things impact how women feel and their long-term health. Ways that I’ve come to that on my own have been through yoga practice and through my travel around the world. It has been through meeting women in other places who face different kinds of challenges, and broadening my mind. I think that’s probably a good thing for most of us to practice."
H&M Conscious Exclusive is available online and in selected stores from 19 April.