Sitting opposite me in the What’s Your Legacy studio in Marble Arch, sipping on a peppermint tea, bundled with layers upon layers of vintage clothing to protect herself from the icy winter cold is the fiery-haired, eloquently-spoken actress Lauren McCrostie.
Having just released her most recent film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, McCrostie’s fan base is growing at a steady rate – with 15.6k followers on Instagram – and she is using that new platform to be a voice for sustainability.
“I don’t think it’s realistic unfortunately for me to say that I hope for a world where there is no waste and everybody is happy and everyone is thriving, I don’t think that’s possible,” McCrostie tells me as she cradles her tea “As a short term, or a more immediate world, would be a more sustainable world and one with a greater awareness of the situation and people assuming more responsibility.”
Not only a sustainable shopper, vegan and avid plastic-bottle collector, 20 year-old McCrostie has just launched her own Etsy store ‘Cabbage Patch Collective’ which stocks gifts handmade by McCrostie herself with fabrics that would have otherwise been thrown away. “Apart from carrying around like a bag’s worth of recycling from the street. I just try and implement it in every way possible. I think in everything that I do, I think about what the sustainable, environmentally-friendly way of doing this is,” she says on how she maintains a sustainable lifestyle “I live with my mum so I encourage the family to shop package free. Bringing our own brands and reducing the amount of plastic we consume as a household.”
However, her journey started on the set of the short film Brothers in 2014, where McCrostie got talking to the costume designer about where she sourced her clothes. “She had some really nice jumpers and skirts and I asked her where she got all her clothes from and she said she only buys second hand stuff, everything I have is from charity shops or vintage shops,” she tells me “she has a massive problem with the waste that we have. I never thought about it because you don’t get exposed to it daily. People don’t talk about it really. It’s becoming more of a topic now but it wasn’t two years ago.”
“She really inspired me – her name was Laura – and it sparked that interest in me,” McCrostie explains “So I decided I was going to mimic what she does, I was already vegan at the time so I was wanting to make that transition into being more conscious with my purchases anyway.”
Citing Reformation, Diarte and People Tree as some of her go-to brands for sustainable clothes shopping, McCrostie still tries to mainly buy second-hand before buying new. “Although I can find some really nice second-hand, vintage pieces, sometimes due to the time scale I need to find garments that are sourced a bit faster and conveniently.”
It is exactly this convenience that makes such a big difference to the average shopper, knowing where to buy sustainably, ethically and consciously for a good price point is imperative to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. This is the kind of information that McCrostie looks for when shopping and ends up promoting on her Instagram page:
“Every company can hide something – and I’m not going to name names – but there are massive high street stores which claim to be really conscious and ethical and sustainable, and they put this massive front on to a massive host of people because they’ve got a massive audience across the whole globe. Huge amounts of stores, ten on Oxford Street alone. And then the mass think they’re really sustainable when really they could be doing terrible things. And it’s called green washing. I think that I try to do as much research as possible. I speak to very knowledgeable people as well to see what they’re wearing.”
Seeing how passionate McCrostie is about living sustainably, minimising her impact on the world and helping other people to understand there is another way of living is incredibly heart-warming. “I do get a bit scared because I’ve got this kind of platform now and I am a bit fearful of people being like ‘why aren’t you doing this?’” she says “But you’ve just got to accept that sometimes this world does make it difficult to be completely sustainable.” McCrostie emphasises that it really is the small things that make a difference, using a Keep Cup to carry water: “Plastic water bottles should just be banned, I think they’re so wrong” or buying second-hand: “I think if it’s bought second hand it’s a different thing because I’m not contributing to the waste cycle.”
Either way, this 20 year-old’s vision for the future is realistic, rational with just a dash of hope. “I think more people need to be more aware of how bad it is, you know? More conscious of how terrible the situation is, and more people need to be engaged with the movement and acceptant of the fact that this is the truth and this is what we have to do and everybody has to do it. And people need to take more responsibility.” Being more caring, more responsible and having a better connection to the world are all traits McCrostie dreams of seeing in the future generations.
And what’s in the future for her, other than helping to save the world? “I love acting, acting is my favourite thing. It’s my foremost passion in what I want to do as a career,” she says “I definitely want to have something on the side of my acting to help the industry and encourage and promote the movement and champion people who are doing good. Raising awareness about the plight we are in and how good and amazing you can feel and make the world feel as a result of feeling more eco-friendly, more sustainable, more ethical.”