1m Pounds Raised for Grassroots Conservation Heroes with WFN

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Thanks to the support from guests and partners, the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) raised one million for conservation, November 14th 2018.

The event kicked off with backstage festivities in preparation for the runway just 4 hours later…

Each look was specially curated in collaboration with AVEDA UK for hair and Attracta Beauty using WELEDA for makeup.

As models and backstage team got ready, treats were provided by BEEBS Energy, Esthechoc, Candy Kittens, Conscious Chocolates, Hippie Peas, Emily’s Crisps and Remedy Teas.

Upon arrival to the iconic London Natural History Museum venue, guests were greeted with champaign before being escorted through the ambient lit “fossil room” where thematic soundtrack by music artist and Fashion for Conservation ambassador, Elle and producer Dan Vinci..

Awaiting at each guests’ table were artisan gifts made in communities local to conservation leaders supported by the Whitley Fund for Nature. FFC tables were also provided slow-beauty gifts from Cohorted and Weleda.


WFN trustee David Attenborough and Kate Humble hosted a keynote address and later a dialogue on the critical importance and urgency of grassroots conservation along side WFN.


Deborah Milner opened with a dramatic deep dive into the underworld with her collection inspred by the very coral reefs in the Natural History Museum itself.

”I never imaged how beautiful it would be to see my collection actually presented here.”

Mother of Pearl followed, proving that basics can be both beautifully designed and sustainable. Select pieces were curated specifically for the evening’s auction.


Ava J Holmes and Elle L first met with Whitley Fund for Nature back in January. In February they announced their collaboration and partnership at a special media event hosted by Elle L at Dr Rita Rakus' in Knightsbridge with key notes from the United Nations. Since then, it has been a process of determining which designers are leading the UK movement on sustainability. Months of preparation came to life this month. Ten months forward from the concept for the sustainable runway show to feature at this year's Hope Gala at Natural History Museum, models gathered in a nearby Knightsbridge penthouse. Mother of Pearl and Deborah Milner were the two designers Elle and Ava felt truly represented sustainable couture with thanks to the consult of Karen Malacarne of British Fashion Council... Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl has gone the extra mile to ensure the lowest carbon footprint from conception to creation, using only organic fibres and challenging the notion of sustainability way beyond just fashion. Deborah Milner has been an advocate of eco-couture since the noughties, with a rich history as head of couture studio for Alexander McQueen and special projects with Aveda. Deborah's designs were originally conceived in the Natural History Museum, drawing her 'Regenerating the Reef' concept from sketches of corals. In the true cyclical nature of creation, Deborah got to showcase her collection at the very place it had first been envisioned in front of an audience of 350 heads of fashion industry including Venetia Scott and top environmentalists, including Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The efforts of the Hope Gala realised the goal of raising £1m for grassroots conservation going to support the work of Whitley Award Winners. 

"Our inspiration to take on this project was two fold. One, the opportunity for Fashion to invest in Conservation like never before and work closely to support raising funds of £1m right from the very root of a Conservation organisation like WFN... Two, we wanted to bridge all our findings from the concrete jungle of couture and bring it back to nature. We chose two designers, Amy Powney and Deborah Milner who are living and breathing the change within the fashion industry, advocating for fashion to become more of a solution to our environmental crisis than ever before. Sustainability is slowing the negative impact but projects like this are making a tangible and immediate difference..." - Elle L for Fashion for Conservation

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