Kiki Boreel is not only a top model but also a climate activist who is using her voice to advocate for a sustainable and fair fashion industry. Scouted at the age of 14, she worked for the biggest names in the fashion industry. Until she reached a point where she no longer wanted people to buy the clothes she was paid to sell. Nowadays, Kiki is very selective on her modelling jobs and only works with sustainable fashion brands. Because of our same drive to move towards a slower fashion industry without waste and overproduction, Kiki has created a one-of-a-kind 3-piece suit at Mesure. As with everything at Mesure, the suit has been sustainably made on-demand and crafted from high-quality recyclable materials. The result is a garment that is truly personal to Kiki and that will be cherished forever.
As a fashion model, you made a bold move to take a stand against fast-fashion and become a climate activist. What drove you to take this step?
I started to read more about the often hidden negative environmental and social impact of the fashion industry and found that it is an industry that pollutes on all levels: from carbon emissions to water use and pollution, waste and human exploitation. I realised that I wasn’t only contributing to this by buying clothes, but that I, through my work as a model, was actively persuading people to buy clothes they don’t need. The never-ending inflow of clothing racks behind the scenes of e-commerce shoots started to physically repulse me to the point that I had to call my agent crying to say I no longer wanted to do these shoots. But instead of just quitting, I decided to make a lot of noise and shed light on fashion’s dirty secrets through social media and public speaking.
What is your current view on the fashion industry?
There is more awareness about the impacts of the fashion industry and there are definitely great developments happening. But unfortunately, the development and growth of (fast) fashion is much bigger. Brands are aware that the consumer is more involved and wants to buy more sustainable products. These brands are using vague empty claims such as “sustainable”, “ethical”, or “better choice” as marketing tools to convince consumers to buy more. For instance, the tiny resell initiatives of brands (that they love to market about), are dwarfed by the amount of products they produce in their “regular” lines. Until brands like Zara, Boohoo or Shein start to disclose their production volumes and significantly reduce these, I won’t believe any of their claims that “they work towards a better fashion industry”.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a form of art. It protects us against the rain or cold. It makes you part of a group or helps you to stand out. It’s a way to explore your identity. Finding my own personal style gave me such a boost! I think about what fits my body, and what makes me feel strong or beautiful and then I invest in those pieces that I will wear for a long time. Because of this I now love and appreciate (almost) every item I own (I’m still working on that closet cleanup). There is so much craftsmanship and beauty in the clothes we buy. I think it is important to appreciate the time and effort that went into making every piece, to build a closet that you love.
For your Mesure creation, you chose a mid-blue wool flannel fabric to craft your suit. What made you choose this style and fabric?
Oh, there were SO many different choices! Luckily, together with the help of Sara, I could quickly eliminate some colours and fabrics. I love pieces that I can combine with other pieces in my closet. Blue is one of those colours that goes great with everything. The colour and fabric are timeless and have a rich look. A nice bonus is that this type of blue makes my eyes more blue as well. Funnily enough, even though there was a large selection of colours and fabrics, it was easy to find the right one for me. With some advice from Sara of course.