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Nature Boy

19 Apr 2018

When it comes to caring about the environment, we've got a lot in common with Simon Nessman, the face of our Spring/Summer 18 Men's Designer Campaign. We're excited to share the following piece with you, written by freelance writer Ryan Porter, who sat down with Nessman to learn a little more about the top model's environmental efforts and green initiatives. 

When he's not being photographed for Giorgio Armani or stomping the runway for Bottega Venetta, Simon Nessman is likely getting his hands dirty on Vargas Island, a natural paradise in the Pacific Ocean. There, the 28-year-old top model and face of Simons' Spring/Summer Designer Men's Collection is Director of the Cedar Coast Field Station, a 45-acre centre dedicated to researching the Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO biosphere reserve located along the west coast of Vancouver Island where Nessman's only real neighbours are the old-growth forests, grey wolves, and whales that give the area its ecological significance.  

“The mission of the Cedar Coast Field Station is to preserve ecological health through place-based research and education that celebrates the cultural and biological diversity of Clayoquot Sound.” 

-Simon Nessman

“In practice the field station provides researchers and education groups with accommodation and resources to study the local ecology. It is similar to the concept of a biological field station, with an added emphasis on the role of human beings in the ecosystems.”

The Field Station grew out of Nessman’s final project at Quest University in Squamish, B.C., where Nessman would travel by sailboat to his classes in between jetting around the world shooting fashion campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein, Fendi, and Ralph Lauren. The station is completely off the grid, even generating its own electricity. 

“We currently have a combination of solar and wind power charging our battery banks, with gasoline generators as backup for times of low solar availability—like nighttime,” he says.
“While these systems function much like a regular home, we are working to provide people with a more intimate understanding of where their energy is coming from.”

Visiting groups will see how the station’s electrical, water, and food systems work. 

“I feel that developing a more intimate connection to these life-sustaining resources is a fundamental step towards preserving the availability of these resources.”

-Simon Nessman

He finds his high-profile work in fashion, for which he won The Model of the Year Award at this year’s Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, and his environmental conservationism have generated some interesting partnerships. For example, it made him a natural fit for his current campaign with Simons, for which he modelled this year’s new billowing proportions, perfect for channeling the season’s chill summer vibes. 

As part of Simons' commitment to the environment, the Canadian company actively seeks partners who share their commitment to a green lifestyle. In fact, Simons opened the first net-zero energy store in Canada in March. Quebec City's Galeries de la Capitale location is powered by solar panels on the roof, heated using geothermal wells that draw heat from the Earth's core, and even have stationary bikes that customers can use to recharge their phones.

It was just part of the appeal for Nessman in making Simons his debut campaign for a Canadian company. “The experiences that I have had in the fashion industry and the advertising industry have been really informative in these pursuits, and vice versa,” Nessman says. “I think it's really helped me have a more grounded perspective on the fashion industry. I have been provided an opportunity to look at my position in the industry in a different way. With a more critical eye.”

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