|   Nature


  |   Nature


Model Ria Serebryakova’s self-directed NYC photo exhibit on plastic pollution makes high fashion and environmental awareness beautifully collide

Fashion model Ria Serebryakova in a selfie photo she shared on her official Instagram page in November 2019. | Photo by Ria Serebryakova/Instagram (@riasalvation)

The year 2019 was marked with worldwide actions encouraging people to take part in preserving our environment. Model Ria Serebryakova has done her part through high fashion, a field where she beautifully shines, and masterfully narrated the struggle with plastic pollution in her photo exhibit called “The 2084.”

Ria was the model, creator, and director of “The 2084” exhibited at the Van Der Plas Gallery in New York last Dec. 10. The title was a nod to George Orwell’s classic novel “1984,” famously known for its dystopian future plot. Hundreds flocked to the exhibit, and attendees have found themselves captivated by Ria’s artistic work and, more importantly, by the much-needed message successfully conveyed.

Her modeling career started in 2013 in Russia, where she was born and raised, leading to Ria’s talents being discovered by a modeling agency at the age of 18. Ria made her Paris Fashion Week debut a year later, where she walked the runway for the Italian high fashion brand, Miu Miu. She then immediately moved to New York, where she continues to thrive and has since walked runways for other fashion signatures such as Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch, and Gucci. She has also starred in campaigns including Ray-Ban’s “Never Hide” and L’Oreal’s “Color & Co Line.” The creator of “The 2084” was featured by renowned publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and has graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar with “Stranger Things” actors Finn Wolfhard and Noah Schnapp.

Combining high fashion with timely environmental issues – considering its real-life effects around the world – could be a very tough line to walk. However, Ria’s work on “The 2084” has broken that barrier making her photo exhibit deserve the praises it has been getting.

With help from photographer Alexey Glebko and the rest of her team, Ria directed a fashion photo exhibit that successfully found the balance both in aesthetics and the message it brings. The photographs included in “The 2084” have shown Ria’s skills as an experienced high fashion model without glamorizing the issue of plastic pollution.

The United Nations Environment Programme reports that an estimated 60 percent of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since the 1950s ended up in landfills and various parts of the natural ecosystem. Unfortunately, only 9 percent of all the plastics ever produced were recycled. The grueling numbers of worldwide plastic pollution could easily scare people off of plastic use and production. However, even these numbers show that plastic production is not the sole issue.

Humans play an important role in making sure that technological advancements, of which the invention of plastic was a part of, would not interfere with the life of the natural environment. “The 2084” emanated that message, particularly in images where Ria sits in a plastic chair and another where she holds a plastic bucket as if showing how it is a piece of great equipment for collecting and storage of water. Note that there are still many places in the world where people’s houses do not have water lines. And these are just some cases that prove plastic-made materials help in people’s daily lives.

As Ria said about “The 2084,” the convenience that plastic brought humans has already taken a toll. Human intervention is needed more than ever to prevent the environment from being totally overpowered by the thoughtless disposal of plastic materials before nature could even heal itself.

The issue of worldwide plastic pollution is very complex, but, at the end of the day, people need to take action. This highlights the need for more exhibits like “The 2084” that do way more than just aesthetically please the eyes of its audience. They have to make people think and persuade them to start helping save the environment even through small efforts with the welfare of the future generation in mind. Ria effectively did that through “The 2084.”

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