ZeroOout"s signature shirt.
"Fashion is a huge part of the economy," said Sam. "If you’re going to spend so much money on clothes, why not make it good for the environment?"
In January, ZeroOout held their first benefit concert featuring The Poster Boys, whose members all attend Weston High School. The concert sold out and the group raised $200 for their scholarship fund. The band wrote a special song about global warming which they performed during the event.
The teens" parents encourage their interests in fashion, business and environmentalism. "I"m proud that they’ve taken this initiative, I’m proud that they’ve taken this responsibility," their father, Lloyd Allen, said. "This is a revolution—I feel it happening and them getting caught up in it."
Lloyd has faith that the "Warm is not Cool" slogan will make ZeroOout the Smokey Bear of global warming. The father, who calls his kids "fashion activists," says Sam has been in love with fashion since he was only was two years old, "ever since he saw Dorothy turn her ankle sideways when she put on the red shoe." Lloyd has had various careers in the arts and his wife, Leslie, is a successful interior designer. They say their children were raised in an environment of "complete self-expression."
Phoebe spends most of her free time working on her digital designs, baking from recipes, "hanging out" with her friends or taking care of her cat, Lucky. Sam also has a cat ("Sassy"). He works out with a trainer every week, eats out with his friends and shops whenever possible, funding his self-described addiction through a retail job at Dovecote, an interior design store in Westport. Even at 10 years old, Sam would walk into stores and ask for jobs as a salesperson. "He couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t hire him," said Lloyd. "Sam was a networking, enterprising kid from day one."
And Phoebe has started her own environmental programs at Weston Middle School, where she is an eighth grader. She presented her idea for the school’s first Global Warming Awareness Week which would include a cell phone recycling drive, guest speakers and "a day in the dark" during which the school would spend an entire day without using electricity.
The sister-brother team is also planning a larger event which will include bands and high-profile speakers. They have already written a letter to Al Gore inviting him to speak.
"In the beginning, people thought it was kind of weird, you know? Like, "What is this kid doing?"" said Sam. "But you have to take the initiative. It’s our world, our environment. We’re living in it."
NATALIE RIOS is a writer based in New York City.