Summer Rayne Oakes is an American-born model, activist, and television host known for her social entrepreneur work in ecofashion and related sustainability ventures. Because of her close ties to the environment, she is often referred to as "The Eco-model.
Growing up among Pennsylvania farmlands outside Scranton, Oakes was a self-taught naturalist. She attended Lakeland Jr./Sr. High School. In her community, Oakes was the youngest board member of the Environmental Advisory Council.
Oakes graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources and Entomology. She began modeling while attending Cornell University. She was approached by a Philadelphia-based modeling agency, but signed with Boss Models upon graduation. Her first project brought attention to sustainable fashion and rainforest conservation with photographer John F. Cooper and stylist Peter Brown's Organic Portraits series.
Oakes is a Udall Scholar and National Wildlife Federation Fellow. Upon winning the Udall Environmental Scholarship, Summer Rayne said she was looking to become an ecosystem manager and work to improve conservation programs "by successfully integrating human dimension aspects, scientific research and the intrinsic value of nature into comprehensive management plans."
At Cornell Oakes was Vice President of the Educate for the Earth Club and a frequent artistic contributor to Ursus, the student environmental publication. Her work experience includes serving as a research assistant in the Cornell Waste Management Institute where she co-authored publications including "Investigation of Alleged Sludge Health Incidents Associated with Land Application of Sewage Sludges, "Sewage Biosolids Land Application: Reported Health Incidents," and "Organic Chemicals in Sewage Sludge" . She also worked in the Aquatics Laboratory of the Department of Entomology on stream water quality studies, and studied rainforest regeneration in the Central Highlands of the Dominican Republic. Oakes also was an environmental lobbyist for the Long Island Neighborhood Network against pesticide application.
Her fusion of values-based modeling, business, and activism has garnered much international interest. Her first full-paged interview came in 2004 for Lucire:
"Summer Rayne Oakes may be the archetype of the twenty-first century supermodel. While the "s" word has not been applied by the media yet, she has all the ingredients that make one in the modern context: an active involvement in environmental causes, an intelligence quotient that hovers in the 180 mark, and a sexy, smouldering look. However, what makes Oakes tick? This is a Cornell graduate with degrees in entomology and natural resources, the winner of numerous academic awards - certainly not the twentieth century's idea of the model. If she has a fault, it may be that she is ahead of her time, and the world is catching up."
Since then, Oakes' work has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fox News, HGTV, Sirius Satellite Radio, NY1, MTV News, Discovery Channel News, Video Fashion News, the Fashion & Beauty Channel, and LinkTV. Recent interviews and articles have appeared in French Vogue, Shape magazine, Elle magazine, Allure magazine,GQ magazine, YRB, Experience Life, Artist Interviews, Entertainment World, GQ, Healthy Living, E, The Fader, Yogi Times, Outside Magazine, The Lazy Environmentalist, Sustainable Industries Journal, Neue Zürcher Zeitung , and Grist Magazine. She has modeled for Levi Strauss & Co., Nicole Miller, Replay Jeans, Zimmerli Lingerie, and others.
On September 5, 2005, Oakes launched "Behind the Label", a monthly sustainable style editorial produced for Lucire, which became the first international editorial completely devoted to ethical and eco-conscious fashion designers. On October 23, 2006, Oakes took over as acting editor for the magazine. In September 2006, she also launched the S4 Newsletter, reporting on sustainability trends in fashion. She writes the "Ask Summer Rayne" column for PlanetGreen.com , writes personal musings for Treehugger.com, and Huffington Post.
Oakes was represented by Boss Model Management in New York City from September 2004 to July 2005. That same month, she founded SRO, a consulting and production firm focused on sustainable business. In 2007, Oakes was named a Lifestyle Ambassador of the Sustainable Style Foundation.
In early 2008, Oakes was named spokesperson, resident expert, host, and board adviser for Discovery Channel's Planet Green Channel, a 24-7 hour network devoted to the environment launching in the United States in June 2008. She also previously co-hosted Eco 4 the World with Andrew Patterson created by Big Durian Productions in Singapore.
In December 2008, she is launching her first book entitled, "Style, Naturally: The Global Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty" published by Chronicle Books.
Summer Rayne Oakes is under private management with SJR Brand Management and NEXT Models exclusively focusing on her environmentally- and socially-relevant modeling.
In December 2005, Oakes attended the Fair Trade Expo at the World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong to represent the international fair trade movement.
In October 2007, Oakes was part of a donor-funder trip to Great Bear National Rainforest, the last contiguous coastal temperate rainforest in the world and home of the Kermode bear. In November 2007, she helped organize and lobby for the first time on Capitol Hill with the youth-run group, Energy Action on the case of global warming. She was one of 6,000 young people who participated in the largest lobby day and summit on climate change.
That same month, Oakes left to Africa for a shoe drop with TOMS Shoes in South Africa and an annual sustainable development trip to Mozambique.
In June 2008, she wrote an op-ed for her local Pennsylvania paper on green-collar jobs to urge the community and the government to take political action.
She is also a United Nations US Partnership Youth Emissary, a program founded in conjunction with the United Nations Decade for the Education of Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals.