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Filtering by Tag: #fashion

Elle L Interviews Elephantasia Lead Designer René Garza

Kelly Zwicker

Music artist, Elle L joins the Fashion For Conservation (FFC) for 2018 to curate special content online and for Fashion Week. We look forward to Elle's future projects and collaborations with FFC as a London Ambassador. This week we shine a spotlight on Elephantasia lead designer René Garza,  interviewed by Elle L. 

ELLE L x

René GARZA in Conversation.

The stars aligned last London Fashion Week when I had the incredible opportunity to meet and sit next to lead designer René Garza on Front Row for Elephantasia — a breathtaking and ethically-inspired fashion show created by Fashion For Conservation.

In life there can be a butterfly effect where a chance meeting can lead to greatness. This was definitely one of those moments. I instantly gravitated towards René’s personality and his artistic nature. The beauty of social media meant that we were able to stay in touch when he returned to America. I also connected with Ava Holmes co-founder and director of Fashion For Conservation, which lead to the birth of this concept of a ‘conversation’ between artists about conservation. 

I myself as a music artist find real inspiration in nature. My debut project, Cocoon uses the metaphor of metamorphosis to allude to themes of breaking out and free. Working alongside FFC resonated. I feel the time is now to start speaking up about conscious art, how nature can play a role in creativity and the importance of sustainable art for the future of fashion and other creative industries.

Pictured: Elle L by Dawn-Marie Jones

Pictured: Elle L by Dawn-Marie Jones

René was naturally the perfect ‘first’ for this project as our meeting was so organic and a vital part of this project coming to life. We’ve been keeping the conversation on conservation alive here:

E L: René, it's a pleasure to be able to speak more about your work and the inspirational FFC show Elephantasia. 

R G: It's great we can make this happen.

E L: Do you remember the first moment you chose to be a designer? Was it what you always wanted to do?

R G: I was always into art and photography growing up. I liked fashion in terms of caring about what I wore and went through many different phases of styles - from preppy to goth. But I had never considered being a designer. It’s actually a funny story. I had a friend and he wanted to be a fashion designer. His wife entered him into a competition and she also entered me without letting me know until the last minute, so I had to make something! I went to the fabric shop and brought cheapest material I could find and made this chartreuse coloured piece. It had two slits going above the waist and chains for straps. 

E L: Sounds like a sexy number! 

R G: (giggles) Yes! Although my Mum helped me make it. It was very ’put together’ rather than properly constructed. I entered it. Of course it didn’t win but it was the starting point. We went to dinner with another designer we met and decided to put on a fashion show. We had over a thousand people show up for our first fashion show. 

E L: Wow. When was this?

R G: It was in the 90s.

E L: You don’t look old enough! Was it one of those epiphany moments? Like ‘‘This is what I’m supposed to do’’?

R G: (giggles) I had no intention of being a designer. It all happened very quickly. I had no knowledge. It just took off that way. I think anything visual resonates - design is design, so if you’re artistic it correlates to other areas and if you have an affinity to something it becomes it's own thing.

E L: I agree, with a bit of experience. I would describe myself as a 360 artist because I model, write, direct and of course make music and they all contribute to make up who I am. 

R G: Exactly, we can do more than one thing. I think people sometimes stop themselves from achieving their full potential.

E L: I think it’s contributing towards a bigger movement where we are able to do more and technology allows us. We don’t have to physically cut tape in a studio anymore for example. There’s obviously beautiful qualities to real mediums too but it's great that we can evolve like this as creatives.

R G: Yes, technology is playing a huge role in how creatives work.

E L: I have been told to stick to one thing before because it’s ‘safer’ but it’s not in my nature. I'm still very new but I like to embrace it. My feeling is more and more artists are going in this direction of expressing themselves in different ways.

R G: I think the beautiful thing is that art should scare you. It's hugely inspiring as an artist to do things that scare you. If you feel comfortable that’s when the art gets stagnated. If you’re too confident or it’s too easy, you won't give it your all.

E L: What would you say are your main inspirations & influences?

R G: My main inspiration for design usually comes from Gothic or historical references. Art plays an important role in making a collection. My collections are made from up cycled clothing or end of bolt fabrics, so that really dictates most of what I can do. I get a general theme for the collection and go with what can be done with the materials I have at hand. I’m also inspired by darkness and the colour black. I’m drawn to the mysterious. I’m minimal in my designs. Getting a little bit bolder with colour for Fashion For Conservation.

Pictured: René Garza design for  Elephantasia  at London Fashion Week. As featured in Vogue. 

Pictured: René Garza design for Elephantasia at London Fashion Week. As featured in Vogue. 

E L: How did the collaboration with FFC come about?

R G: My collaboration with FFC started when a dear of mine Leza Raley-Labrador put Ava Holmes and I in touch. We had a general conversation about her efforts and projects and I told her about my work with the non-profit design house Magpies & Peacocks. I really had no plans to show a collection with FFC for their Elephantasia event, but for a few days after I was seeing elephants all day everyday. I saw that as a sign. When I called her back she said there was two days left to submit designs. They accepted my designs and ended up opening and closing the London Fashion Week show at Fashion Scout. 

E L: In what ways does nature specifically inspire your creations?

R G: The Collection showing in February is inspired by flowers. The theme is Rainforest, so I wanted something not so obvious and more about nature. There are layers and volume to the clothes that resemble flowers (at least I see flowers)! l Even when the collection's thematic inspiration is not nature inspired, the fact that they are up cycled, and most have little to zero waste, make them by default inspired by nature.

E L : I'm excited to see it. The zero waste element, alongside conscious consumption with how I source what I eat and wear is a huge thing for me right now! I find it shocking how much waste one person can make on a daily basis and it’s worrying that fast fashion is such a growing trend. My friend has this cool brand called NeverFade in Soho and he has a studio with artists in residence downstairs.

RG: Ah, that’s cool. 

E L: Yes, I’ll have to take you when you’re in London. You can take in a garment and the artist will recreate the piece for you and put bespoke artwork on it. You have something totally unique and it breathes new life into what you’re wearing. Of course you pay for it but it reworks and reframes your style.

RG: Yes, Magpies and Peackocks have a very similar heart with regards to the up-cycling element and I think it’s so important. A huge amount of fabrics and clothing end up in landfill. People don’t always think to recycle. 85% of textiles end up in landfill, that is 12.5 Million tons per year in the US alone.

E L: What role does sustainability and conservation play in your work? Are there challenges? Can these challenges be a source of creativity?

R G:  I use pieces of up cycled fabrics from interior design outlets for example. Otherwise they would go to landfill so I often have a starting point governed by what’s available which is both the challenge but also the positive because it gives me a starting point and focus. I like to challenge myself to use the fabrics as they are so the piece is often tailored around that. It does mean that most of creations are bespoke so it means mass production is a challenge, but is there anything more beautiful than something handcrafted and made specifically for you?

E L: I couldn't agree more. Your closing runway piece for Elephantasia was breathtaking and made from up-cycled material too. I'm aware this piece was inspired by the Elephant - could you tell us how you came up with the vision for this & what was the process involved in creating it?

R G: Thank you, the Finale piece was a re-interpretation of an art installation I created that covered an entire building's facade. I was watching a video of a herd of elephants and the ears moving in the wind reminded me of my art technique. So I took that concept and created a dress. I envision each section as an ear of an elephant and what if they listened and understood what is being done to them and this planet. 

RG.V.2.jpg

Pictured: Rene's Garza's closing piece for runway show Elephantasia, featured in Vogue.

E L: Have you ever had to make a sacrifice to create the art you want?

R G: I think everyone does. In terms of location I was living in New York and leading a very comfortable lifestyle, working with celebrities as a stylist. Now I’m living in Texas and I have taken huge financial sacrifices to follow my heart. You’ll keep getting certain difficulties until you learn that lesson in life, I think.

E L : But the risk is worth the reward right? I can relate. I think it’s heading for

bigger ceilings. The heart wins.

R G: I hope so! I am enjoying working with so many people making a positive impact on our planet. That has lead to some pretty great experiences.

 

Pictured: René Garza 

Pictured: René Garza 

 

You can see René Garza’s Rainforest inspired solo runway show on February

18th at Freemasons Hall, as part of Fashion Scout for London Fashion Week. 

 

Join us: Cocktails for Conservation. Tickets available here.

 

Makeup and Hair BTS With Fashion for Conservation

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker 

@k_stateofmind

Hello fashion lovers, 

Fashion for Conservation is sharing some BTS this week on what it's like to be on set with the team, and the fun and intricate details that go into a shoot! 

This past Friday, some of the team came together to shoot two looks for the upcoming Fall collection, so be on the lookout for them to be officially released then. As for now, we're revealing the smaller details. 

Here we have Rick Toth, Seattle based freelance makeup artist, doing the in-between look touches on model Marie Johansen. Rick is a published, award winning makeup artist, and was a nominee for the 2017 Best of Western Washington Makeup Artists. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Makeup and hair for the shoot was done in downtown Seattle's Vann Edge Salon, with owner Lisa Vann. Aveda products were used for the hair styling, including the gold detail for the second look. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Lisa Vann was on the set hair stylist, and her feature from FFC can be found here. Lisa has travelled the world as an Aveda educator and international editorial stylist. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

Photography: Kelly Zwicker @kellyzphoto

At this time, pictures of the two looks in this shoot will not be revealed, but stay tuned for that in Fall! On behalf of FFC, we love sharing our staff and BTS moments with you all. There are a lot of small details that go into shows, shoots, and events that we hold, and so many talented individuals are involved. 

Until next time xx 

 

FFC staff on set: 

Nazanin Alvarez - Creative Director

Lisa Vann- Hair Stylist

Rick Toth: MUA

James Cheng: Photographer 

Marie Johansen: Model 

Kelly Zwicker: BTS photographer/blogger

Vilté Rooney: Production lead 

Monique Ward: Production/ On-set assistant 

Jeia Villacis: Production assistant 

 


FFC's Lead Blogger

Kelly Zwicker 

@k_stateofmind

Kelly is a lifestyle blogger based out of Seattle, Washington. She has her own website kstateofmind.com. She currently blogs her personal style, travel adventures, and health tips. Being a former collegiate tennis player and public health major, Kelly loves to get involved with a variety of collaborations, not excluding her lead blogger role with Fashion for Conservation. She utilizes her passions for photography and writing for her freelance work and creative drive.

Cocktails for Conservation: A Can't Miss Event for Seattleites

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker
@k_stateofmind


Why attend this event? Because the merging of fashion and conservation will be fun, educational, and inspiring. There will be stunning fashion, amazing guest speakers, and everything down to the cocktails will be rainforest themed.

Fashion and Conservation could have an amazing future in their niche combination, a whole new priority in the fashion industry. Continuing local events lead to larger projects, which sparks a MUCH larger movement. Are you ready to join?

I will be in attendance, taking behind the scenes photography and hosting interviews. I would love to meet anyone that would like to attend, and support the benefited cause, Hoja Nueva. Hoja Nueva is based out of Peru, where the founder and executive director, Samantha Zwicker, lives and does research on wildlife inhabiting Peru’s lowland Amazon rainforest. Their current projects cover the topics of wildlife conservation, ecology, global health and community development.

Pictured: Members of the community of Lucerna, Peru, with executive director Samantha Zwicker and Hoja Nueva team members

Pictured: Members of the community of Lucerna, Peru, with executive director Samantha Zwicker and Hoja Nueva team members

Pictured: Khan the Ocelot, who was to be re-entered into the wild by Hoja Nueva member Harry Turner. Khan was killed by a poacher trap, and his memory drives Hoja Nueva to succeed with conservation efforts, despite resistance. 

Pictured: Khan the Ocelot, who was to be re-entered into the wild by Hoja Nueva member Harry Turner. Khan was killed by a poacher trap, and his memory drives Hoja Nueva to succeed with conservation efforts, despite resistance. 

There is an important theme of the partnership of Hoja Nueva with FFC. Hoja Nueva’s efforts are put towards a future where humans and wildlife can coexist together. A world where wildlife is not at the expense of human activity. Sustainability should not just be a trend, it should be a lifestyle people adapt to. It should be prioritized.

As for making sustainability trendy? This event is up to the challenge. 

The evening features themed cocktails, fashion design inspired by elephants and rainforests, holiday pop-up shops, keynotes with jungle-dwelling Fashion for Conservation co-founder and Hoja Nueva president Samantha Zwicker, chocolate tastings, and even chair massages! 

FFC recently presented the Elephantasia line in London Fashion Week, so expect to witness some of the beauty of this collection once again at the event...

Mark your calendars for this exclusive event with Fashion for Conservation (FFC) taking place on Giving Tuesday, November 28th @ Axis Pioneer Square Seattle. 

from 35.00
Ticket:
Quantity:
Purchase

CONSERVATION: Meet our incredible keynote speakers! Ray Victurine, Business Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society, President of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, Wei Ying Wong, PhD, Vice President of Education at the Woodland Park Zoo, and Samantha Zwicker, PhD, Executive Director at Hoja Nueva and Co-Founder at Fashion for Conservation

CHOCOLATE: We are very happy to announce Endangered Species Chocolate as one of our sponsors for our goodie bags for VIP guests at Cocktails for Conservation. 

Endangered Species Chocolate, the makers of the country’s top rated non-GMO and Fair Trade chocolate indulgences, does more than make delicious treats. Their 10% Give Back program has been able to provide nearly $1.4 million to their conservation partners over the past three years. Currently partnering with Wildlife Conservation Network and Rainforest Trust, ESC will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2018, and have begun work to broaden their reach and efforts to support each of these great organizations through crafting premium chocolate.

Endangered Species Choc 1 .jpg

Indi Chocolates Seattle is also making bean to bar chocolate using the FIRST EVER cacao beans sustainably grown at Hoja Nueva. Complimentary chocolate made fresh on-site with Hoja Nueva cacao will be for everyone's enjoyment. 

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FASHION: Remember Fashion for Conservation's last event in Seattle? Together with your support, Hoja Nueva accomplished the following:

- protected an extra 150 acres of land for conservation
- contributed to the construction of Hoja Nueva's eco-lodge and research center
- planted 2000 cacao trees to be sustainably grown
- launched program to bring animals from the black market back to the wild
- created waste and water management programs for impoverished communities

Cocktails for Conservation presents both the full Elephantasia show from London Fashion Week and a preview the Seattle Rainforest Gala 2018! Hoja Nueva executive director, Samantha Zwicker will also share the full circle impact of last year's event, and goals for 2018. 

ENTERTAINMENT: For the entertainment, in addition to rainforest and elephant themed fashion we are thrilled to have J-NASTY, (Janice Ibarra). Janice is an emerging DJ, stylist, yoga teacher, and co-founder of Women.Weed.WiFi, which is an art collective-movement. Janice feels a strong connection with nature that she harnesses for her activities and lifestyle. The rainforest has taught her awareness. There’s a necessity for growth and change that we are responsible for initiating, and Janice loves to participate in events that get her involved with this change.

Janice 2.jpg

COCKTAILS AND DRINKS: The Seattle Herbalist will be crafting two specialty cocktails with 7 Par Vodka: one will be a floral infusion of rose, lavender, hawthorne, and citrus, and another with root-bitters and cacao. There will also be local organic hard cider by Finn River Farms. 

The Fashion for Conservation team hopes to see you on November 28th!!

XOXO, Kelly

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IMG_7596 - Copy.JPG

MEET FFC'S NEWEST BLOGGER
 @k_stateofmind

Kelly is a lifestyle blogger based out of Seattle, Washington. She has her own website kstateofmind.com. She currently blogs her personal style, travel adventures, and health tips. Being a former collegiate tennis player and public health major, Kelly loves to get involved with a variety of collaborations, not excluding her lead blogger role with Fashion for Conservation. She utilizes her passions for photography and writing for her freelance work and creative drive.

Fashion For Conservation's Behind the Scenes: The London Edition

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker
@k_stateofmind

London was a whirlwind of fashion. The outfit changes, hair and makeup, the attention to detail. It was all build up to the Elephantasia line walking down the runway at the Fashion Scout venue. An ecofashion line within an industry that is primarily driven by money, Elephantasia represents a brighter future for the relationship between fashion and conservation. And the FFC team was in London for that representation.

In addition to the actual show day, the FFC team went to other venues, some with fresher jet lag than others. We witnessed the unique work of other designers with truly original vision.

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

The FFC team was still arriving in groups on various flights. The team that had arrived in London thus far made a cheers to the months of coordinating and planning and social media preparation prior to this trip.

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker   Pictured: Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Laura Choi (Campaign Director), Ronee Collins (Special Events Producer), Jason Pillay (Stylist), Kelly Zwicker (Lead Blogger), Samantha Zwicker (Sustainability Director)

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Pictured: Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Laura Choi (Campaign Director), Ronee Collins (Special Events Producer), Jason Pillay (Stylist), Kelly Zwicker (Lead Blogger), Samantha Zwicker (Sustainability Director)

We have such a diverse team of creative individuals, from different cities and backgrounds. We all have our individual creative strengths. Coming together in London was a special treat for us to celebrate what FFC has accomplished so far. 

The day of the show was, of course, ten million things happening at once. It was a rush. As FFC's blogger I captured the moments going up to the show, and the Fashion Scout venue was lovely. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

We started the show with a musical performance by guest musician Anthar Kharana, setting a specific mood for the audience. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker   Pictured: Anthar Kharana 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Pictured: Anthar Kharana 

As for the show's runway pictures, a full recap of the entire line can be found on the Fashion For Conservation blog, however, here are some of my snapshots captured at the venue. 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker  Pictured: Nazy Alvarez (Creative Director), Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Anthar Kharana (Guest Musician), Samantha Zwicker (Conservation Director)

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Pictured: Nazy Alvarez (Creative Director), Ava Holmes (Executive Producer), Anthar Kharana (Guest Musician), Samantha Zwicker (Conservation Director)

London Fashion Week was a great experience for the FFC team, and it is the one of many events we will promote not just fashion, but conservation as well, and it's future in this amazing industry. 


FFC Headshot.jpg

MEET FFC'S NEWEST BLOGGER
 @k_stateofmind

Kelly is a lifestyle blogger based out of Seattle, Washington. She has her own website kstateofmind.com. She currently blogs her personal style, travel adventures, and health tips. Being a former collegiate tennis player and public health major, Kelly loves to get involved with a variety of collaborations, not excluding her lead blogger role with Fashion for Conservation. She utilizes her passions for photography and writing for her freelance work and creative drive.

Stylist Feature: The Brand and Career of Lisa Vann

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker  

This week we recognize a dedicated and essential contributor to the Fashion for Conservation team, Lisa Vann. Lisa originally joined Seattle's Marketplace Salon in 1987, and she's been a staple in Seattle's hair and beauty community ever since. For almost 30 years, Lisa has been developing her brand and constantly collaborating with other talented artists. 

Vann Edge, located on 1st avenue in Downtown Seattle, is currently directed by Lisa, being one of Aveda's key educators. Aveda is an environmentally conscious hair and skincare brand that is based on the concept of holistic beauty. When asked about the quality and integrity of Aveda as a brand, Lisa touched on how the production and sourcing of ingredients set a high professional standard in the industry. "Aveda uses natural organic pure plant and flower ingredients in the product" she says, "maximizing performance and carrying an amazing aroma."

Lisa has built a strong client base, and has even travelled the world as an Aveda educator and international editorial stylist. Lisa is dedicated to supporting both domestic and International fashion weeks. She also attends "Style Night" with local Seattle lifestyle magazine Ville Magazine, gains recognition through Northwest hairstyling awards, and organizes and orchestrates tutorials for upcoming generations of hairstylists across the U.S and Canada. She continues to collaborate with hair industry and fashion magazines, industry trade shows, and additional local industry leads that come her way. 

Designer: Shriti Pratap  Stylist: Lisa Vann  Photographer: James Cheng

Designer: Shriti Pratap

Stylist: Lisa Vann

Photographer: James Cheng

Stylist: Lisa Vann  Photographer: James Cheng

Stylist: Lisa Vann

Photographer: James Cheng

Designer: Shriti Pratap  Stylist: Lisa Vann  Photographer: James Cheng

Designer: Shriti Pratap

Stylist: Lisa Vann

Photographer: James Cheng

Lisa is very proud of her role and direction with Vann Edge Salon, which she is known for in the downtown Seattle community. The salon's energy and quality customer service keeps her inspired. "We are extremely fashion focused in what we do with our guests" she says.  The salon's mantra is "Every Guest Every time." Vann Edge, being a small avante-garde salon, upholds a sense of fashion forwardness that the Vann Edge team is happy to have their guests experience. Vann Edge consistently hosts and collaborates with editorial shoots for Seattle Fashion Week.

When asked about her Spring and Summer projects, Lisa is elated to see the presence of textured hair down the runway. Lisa comments on how women walking down the runway will have their natural hair featured, and even exaggerated and heightened with products such as Aveda's Texture Tonic.

As far as her longterm partnership with Fashion for Conservation (FFC) and its Elephantasia campaign, it all started with a meeting between Lisa and FFC founder Ava Holmes, in a small coffee shop just to brainstorm ideas. The concept of merging fashion and conservation was initially appealing to Lisa. "Philanthropy through the arts has always been something I love to engage in" she says, "especially if it's to protect these majestic creatures. I am a cause and effect women, I love to see change." Lisa has been drawn to the creative energy of the FFC team ever since. 

Given that Elephantasia will feature in London Fashion Week, Lisa has her vision for fashion and conservation in the future. "My vision would be that this is a platform to continue to bring awareness to my industry"  Lisa claims, "So much of the fashion industry is based off labels and profit, whereas Elephantasia could be the face of sustainability within the industry."

Lisa feels a certain responsibility within the fashion community to promote not only her team and Aveda's products, but the cause for conservation as a greater picture. She wants to stand for conservation through her efforts within the industry, because sustainable fashion could have an amazing future. The more that hairstylists, designers, models, and any individuals in this industry get involved and promote this branch of fashion, the more opportunity it has to succeed. 

We look forward to upcoming projects with Lisa Vann and so many other individuals to make Fashion For Conservation prosper within the Fashion world, and continue spreading crucial awareness. 


Lisa Vann:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisavanntexture/

Vann Edge Salon: http://www.vannedge.com/meet-the-team

 

 

 

Influencer Acknowledgements: Online Contributors to Fashion for Conservation

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

This week we are recognizing the creative influencers that have helped spread the word about Fashion for Conservation's efforts and events. 

Diana Horsfall, a social media content influencer, has been blogging about street style fashion on her personal blog, as well as being an administrator for IFBK Seoul (International Fashion Bloggers in Korea). She also takes on the roles of editor-in-chief and creative director. Diana now resides in Northern California, where she plans to work her way into the fashion industry and be both a designer and showroom owner.

Diana wrote a lovely post about our efforts to help elephants a on an international scale. She always wants to get involved in partnerships that inspire good, and believes that animals are often at the expense of humans, and there needs to be more education as to how we can support conservation. 

Pictured: Diana Horsfall

Pictured: Diana Horsfall

Kaila Yu runs Nylon Pink TV, a travel and lifestyle magazine. She writes about amazing destinations around the world and about the incredible cultures that she encounters. Nylon Pink TV also touches upon the topics of women empowerment and beauty. Kaila wrote a piece about Fashion for Conservation's aim to stop the selling of elephant ivory, with the help of more widespread and international coverage from partnerships with the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Vogue. 

Kaila is passionate about spreading awareness of the current issue of elephants possibly becoming instinct. She encourages the new generation to be more aware of the ivory market and that it us our responsibility to protect them from this fate. 

Pictured: Kaila Yu

Pictured: Kaila Yu

Olivia Fleming, known for her elegant blog The Indie Girl, is very passionate about promoting female strength, ever since her traumatic brain injury in 2015. Both businesswoman and entrepreneur, Olivia has a timeless style and brings a modern contribution to social media with her eye for detail. Her mantra being "fashionably fearless," Olivia's bright spirit comes through her style posts and editorials. Olivia made an excellent point about fashion having the ability to "pollute or progress" our modern lifestyles, in her blog post featuring Fashion for Conservation's Elephantasia campaign. 

Olivia's blog piece on Elephantasia is insightful due to her insistence that the fashion industry, as vast and as influential as it is, be more ethical and environmentally conscious. She makes the claim that so many companies, actually the heavy majority, focus on the net worth, employment, and simply the money as first priority. With Olivia's outlook, imagine if the heavy majority of fashion companies eventually shifted to being environmentally conscious and sustainable. 

Pictured: Olivia Fleming 

Pictured: Olivia Fleming 

Special thanks to Sushmitha Gururaj, Samantha Hunter, Kreshma Nair, and Autumn Whewell for the features posted on their Instagram pages promoting the efforts of Fashion for Conservation.

Along with her background in biology, Sushmitha has her own fashion and lifestyle blog dedicated to her daily life, style, and travels. She is inspired by her early travel memories visiting the Pinnawala elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka. It deeply saddened her that the elephants had experienced such cruelty prior to the safety of the orphanage. That experience has made her that much more involved in participating in concepts such as sustainable fashion. 

Pictured: Sushmitha Gururaj

Pictured: Sushmitha Gururaj

Samantha is a fitness fashion guru promoting health and wellness. Based out of San Diego, Samantha promotes fitness fashion and incorporates a healthy living lifestyle in to her daily life. 

Pictured: Samantha Hunter 

Pictured: Samantha Hunter 

Kreshma Nair is a stylist and consultant, and currently has a style blog on all things fashion. She wrote a heartfelt shoutout on her Instagram spreading awareness regarding the slaughter of elephants, and promoting education to fight for the survival of the elephant family. 

The fact that approximately 35,000 elephants are killed each year is very heard on Kreshma's heart. She is very inspired and supportive of Elephantasia bringing conservation to couture, and has encouraged her followers to spread awareness of the cause as well. 

Pictured: Kreshma Nair 

Pictured: Kreshma Nair 

Autumn Whewell is an MBA student as well as style blogger. She is an advocate for female empowerment through personal style. She writes product reviews, event coverage, and even discusses travel advice with her readers. She is a fan of the modern female fashion look, with an edge. Autumn posted a photo done by James Cheng for a peek into Elephantasia's upcoming appearance in London Fashion Week SS18. 

Autumn encourages the Elephantasia line being produced from plant-based dyes, organic cotton, and recycled materials. Autumn is a very passionate animal lover and notes that her family is making the switch to veganism. She is now much more conscious of not wearing animal products in her fashion and going for cruelty free options. Her collaboration with Fashion for Conservation could not have come at a more applicable time in her life. 

Pictured: Autumn Whewell 

Pictured: Autumn Whewell 

Contributor information/social media:

Diana Horsfall:

Website feature:   

http://www.queenhorsfall.com/2017/06/safe-elephants-elephantasia-exhibition.html

Instagram: @queenhorsfall

Kaila Yu:

Website feature: 

http://www.nylonpink.tv/elephantasia-can-save-african-elephants/

Instagram: @kailayu

Olivia Fleming:

Website feature: 

http://theindiegirl.com/indiegirlblog/fashion-for-conservation-elephantasia

Instagram: @theindiegirlblog

Sushmitha Gururaj

Instagram: @missminussized

Samantha Hunter

Instagram: @sam.hunter.sd

 Kreshma Nair

Instagram: @melangefundaes

 Autumn Whewell

Website feature: https://autumnwhewell.com/fashion-for-conservation-elephantasia-lfw-ss18/ 

Instagram: @autumnwhewell

 

 

 

Photographer Feature: Gowri Varanashi

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

Hi everyone, 

This week we are celebrating another international photographer with a passion for capturing the beautiful elephant family. Her name is Gowri Varanashi. Gowri is based out of Bangalore, India, and she is an avid adventurer and environmentalist. 

Gowri's love of photography began when she would borrow her father's Pentax film camera as a young girl. She would take it on school trips and practice her photography skills, and her father would mentor her on how to improve. Photography allows Gowri to share what she sees through her lens with other people, which she loves to do because she is able to increase public awareness of the wildlife she photographs. "In the conservation field, this is even more important" she says, "because those of us that work in the field, on the front lines of these issues, need to be able to show the world what is happening to these species and ecosystems and cultures." Gowri finds photography to be a powerful way of communicating, or in other words, meaningful visual storytelling. 

Pictured: Paul Rosolie , PC: Gowri Varanashi

Pictured: Paul Rosolie , PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

A major theme of Gowri's biography is her desire to adventure. Gowri feels a constant pull to adventure at all times, and claims it brings her out to nature and the outdoors more frequently. "It’s what awakens me from the monotony of everyday life, which enables me to have a happy, healthy state of mind," she says. Gowri has learned from her adventures, and through the lens, that there is always more to learn about the world and the beautiful creatures it holds. 

Speaking of those creatures, one of Gowri's fondest memories is of an amusing interaction she had with an elephant. She and her husband were with a forest ranger in one of India's national parks when the ranger spotted an elephant. The elephant was in fact right next to them on the dirt road, completely silent and stopped in its tracks. "We realized the elephant was in fact right next to us off the road," Gowri recalls, "mostly hidden by bushes but a large patch of its grey, wrinkled skin was visible in the center. I can never forget it." It was a waiting game of who was going to move first, but Gowri and her husband were loving just being in the elephant's presence. 

Gowri likes to consistently photograph Indian elephants. "As a photographer, an elephant is captivating because it’s like shooting a mountain range" she says, "a sentient landscape." A major reason Gowri feels closer to this particular species is because she was raised in India. She grew up witnessing their place in the wild, chewing vegetation and moving seeds through the ecosystem. They are such pillars to the growth of ecosystems, practically builders of the forests in Africa and India, keystone species that protect and enhance wildlife habitat. 

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

The initiative to combine fashion and conservation is exciting for Gowri, given her past feelings of how fashion has taken advantage of wildlife in a negative way. "Black caiman (an important Amazonian apex-predator) almost became extinct because of the demand for their hides in the 50’s and 60’s" she recalls, "Then of course there is the ongoing battle with fur products and black markets." There has definitely been animal abuse in the fashion industry in the past, and sustainable practices are essential to not repeat history. 

"To bring conservation and fashion together is really unique because it’s a very unexpected partnership" Gowri says, "and it continues the super-sheik tradition that Peter Beard started a few decades ago." 

Gowri recognizes the global need to keep elephants walking this earth, as well as their sentience. Elephants are indeed incredibly intelligent and emotionally driven. "They are also the largest terrestrial species on our planet" she adds, "I can't imagine a world without elephants."

When Gowri was asked what she wants to see most in the animal conservation movement, she wants people to stop creating such a bold separation between humans and nature. People do not often accept that animals are highly intelligent. Gowri recited a quote from Einstein: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree….” This quote is a powerful message to humans. We need to understand that we do not have a right over other animal species. They walk this earth with as much purpose as we do, just in a completely different way. 

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

And we shouldn't have to. With more individuals like Gowri to spread awareness and outwardly promote the importance and beauty of the elephant family, we have strength in numbers to not let these creatures be led to extinction. We must not have a limited mindset; we must create empathy and protect other species because each one is inherently valuable.

For more updates on future features and the efforts of Fashion for Conservation, please follow along with our blog here, as well as on our social media accounts and Facebook page! Merchandise purchases to support the cause and our current campaign Elephantasia are available on our website as well. 

Thanks for reading! xx

Gowri's pages and information:
Instagram: @gowrivaranashi and @gowri_varanashi
Staff bio for Tamandua Expeditions: https://tamanduajungle.com/gowri-varanashi/

Cheers,
The Fashion for Conservation Team

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Fashion for Conservation: Checking in from Ibiza

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

Hello everyone, 

Fashion for Conservation (FFC) is currently abroad in Ibiza, where the talent and designs are hitting the runway in an exotic and special location! This is the official start of Elephantasia´s European tour and FFC's initiative to grow internationally in further supporting conservation.

The FFC team has checked into Atzaro Agrotourismo, just a few days before the runway will be live with excitement. We are happy to share this beautiful location and a sneak peak of the designs that will featured here in less than 24 hours.

The European tour will be 7 locations, Ibiza being the first destination. A global tour is FFC's way of claiming a spot in the world of fashion, catering to sustainable fashion and the continuous education of animal conservation. 

The Atzaro proves to be a premium spot for runway preparation, during the 2017 Atzaro Fashion Festival. Atzaro is a luxurious meeting place for creatives, artists, designers, and friends to gather and appreciate the unique mixing of the island´s classic bohemian style with cutting edge high-fashion being showcased by designers like the legenday Pam Hog and those in Elephantasia showcase. Check out a full lineup on the Atzaro website's events section here.

Ibiza is a beautiful destination. Here are sneak peaks of the venue and excitement, shared from @Fashionforconservation Instagram.

Atzaro Restaurante where guests will enjoy a specialty Island dinner before taking their seats.

Atzaro Restaurante where guests will enjoy a specialty Island dinner before taking their seats.

Atzaro Spa which is being transformed into a open air market place and catwalk area.

Atzaro Spa which is being transformed into a open air market place and catwalk area.

The FFC team, including co-founder Ava Holmes and Elephantasia designers Gabriela Rose, Gypsetgirl and others, is preparing for the runway with fittings and final touches. Behind the scenes captures some of our beautiful elephant inspired pieces:

Shriti Pratap (India)

Shriti Pratap (India)

Phrophetik (US) 

Phrophetik (US) 

Stay tuned for the results of Elephantasia's first appearance in the Ibiza Fashion Festival, and more upcoming sneak peaks and behind the scenes of the rest of the European tour! 

Special thanks to The Indi Girl, Nylon Pink TV and Diana Horsfall for the mentions of the Elephantasia campain and initiative, the respective links are below:

TheIndiegirl.com/indiegirlblog/fashion-for-conservation-elephantasia

Nylonpink.tv/elephantasia-can-save-african-elephants

Queenhorsfall.com/2017/06/safe-elephants-elephantasia-exhibition.html?m=1

Designers in the Ibiza fashion show: 

C.Nicol, Ivory Ella, Vismaya Collection, Prophetik, Gabriela Rose, Meredith Allen, The Autonomous Collection, Rachel Allan, Shriti Pratap, Ruke, Zefryas, Gypset, and Ashanti Renee.

We always love to have more influencers and supporters on board to raise elephant awareness and be a part of the magic behind sustainable fashion. Get in touch!

Cheers, 

The FFC team 

 

Behind the Scenes: Vann Edge Salon

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

Hello all,

Behind the scenes moments give the best glimpses of raw talent and passion behind the work of Fashion for Conservation (FFC)'s members and contributors. A recent BTS editorial shoot was at Vann Edge in downtown Seattle, to showcase pieces of the upcoming Elephantasia collection in London Fashion week.

Model: Hanna 

Model: Hanna 

The featured jewelry is from Ashanti Reneé Boutique, made out of complete sustainable and eco-friendly materials. The pieces are full of vibrant color and great potential for movement in photos. Accents of nature are clearly shown in the various necklaces and bright bangles. Ashanti Renee Boutique was founded 10 years ago, originally displaying products for local events and pop-up shops, but is now live online for global purchases. Merchandise and jewelry from the boutique feature African inspirations, making the line special in its cultural aesthetic. 

While I was taking behind the scenes photos of the wonderful chaos, talented photographer James Cheng was the on set photographer, Lisa Vann from Vann Edge for hair styling, and Bek Harvey for makeup. 

Lots of time and energy goes into getting the ideal shots to showcase collections, and lighting is crucial. The indoor space next to Vann Edge salon made for great lighting and natural shadows, which I played with for some headshots of Fashion For Conservation's founder Ava Holmes, wearing a beautiful piece from Ashanti Reneé Boutique. 

The outfits I was present for are below, each demonstrating lovely textures and accents of the elephant species, all designed by Free.Mind. 

It was inspiring to see the team in action, pictured below are Ava Holmes, hair stylist Lisa Vann, and photographer James Cheng. 

Pictured: FFC founder Ava Holmes, hair stylist Lisa Vann, and photographer James Cheng. 

Pictured: FFC founder Ava Holmes, hair stylist Lisa Vann, and photographer James Cheng. 

Stay tuned for another BTS experience with FFC and the talented individuals that make this all happen. Follow our blog here on the FFC website for more updates, as well as our social media for Fashion For Conservation and Elephantasia. 

Featured individuals' sites and profiles: 

Photographer: James Cheng @jameschengphoto 

Producer: Ava Holmes @ava.j.holmes 

Creative Director: Nazy Alvarez (not present)

Model: Hanna @_myfriendhanna

Hair: Lisa Vann @lisavanntexture

Makeup: Bek Harvey @bek.harvey

Jewelry: Ashanti Renee Boutique @ashanti_renee_boutique 

Design: Elephantasia by Free.Mind

And our Instagram accounts are @fashionforconservation and @elephantasia2017


Thank you for reading! 

-Kelly 

 

Through the Lens: With Chantelle Melzer

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker

This week, the Fashion for Conservation (FFC) team recognizes wildlife photographer Chantelle Melzer. Raised in Zululand, South Africa, Chantelle was always drawn to capturing wildlife in the African bush. Although studying Natural Sciences proved to cater to Chantelle’s desire to be involved in animal research, her other passion is art. Photography gives Chantelle an artistic outlet, while additionally promoting conservation through her images of incredible species.

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle is constantly inspired by her photography. “It’s the concept of visual storytelling. I love capturing moments in time, fine details, moods and emotions that tell a story. I have always had a fascination and love for art in its many forms, but it is photography which has become the primary medium that allows me to explore and express that passion.”

Photography has indeed become Chantelle’s full-time profession, and it gives her consistent opportunities to fully appreciate what nature and wildlife have to offer. Taking the time to capture precious moments of wildlife provides the unseen beauty of the natural environment that many people do not get to see, or stop to observe. Chantelle aims to educate people on the importance of conservation by inspiring them with her photographs.

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle’s combined passions of art and wildlife for the greater good is very similar to FFC’s drive to combine fashion and conservation. Elephantasia, the current campaign of FFC, motivated Chantelle to get involved due to elephants being one of her favorite subject matters. She initially made contact with FFC creator Ava Holmes, brainstorming ideas and thinking about potential collaborations. “This introduced me to the concept of Fashion for Conservation,” exclaims Chantelle, “ which really struck a chord with me as I have often thought of how wonderful it would be to bring more conservation-based ethics into the fashion industry, and how conservation projects and initiatives could benefit from the support of the fashion industry.”

Chantelle feels grateful to live in Southern Africa to be in the presence of elephants and witness their amazing traits. Chantelle refers to them as “intelligent, emotive, powerful yet gentle sentient beings,” although the illegal ivory trade casts a dark shadow on the survival of so many elephants even today. Elephantasia, being so centered on helping elephants and their way of live in the wild, immediately struck a chord with Chantelle to participate with her powerful photography.

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

In terms of what FFC has to offer, Chantelle views the organization as a dual effort, both promoting the beauty and necessity of wildlife and the natural world, as well as recognizing how to create sustainable fashion within it. “I love the feeling of unity of purpose,” she says, “the passion behind this drive, and the possibilities of what could be achieved.”

Combining the worlds of nature and fashion makes sense due to how much inspiration nature has already given fashion in the past. The current initiative of FFC is to ensure that it is a sustainable combination that in fact re-invests money in conservation in addition to the awareness and appreciation other brands have accomplished. Chantelle fully supports this movement and looks forward to the progress to be made in future events and projects.

As Chantelle also recognizes, the fashion world often comes at the expense of the natural environment. “We do live in a very broken world where priorities of so many have shifted towards keeping up with popular trends,” she admits, “with little or no regard for the negative impacts they might have, rather than actually focusing on preserving the natural habitats around us.” It saddens Chantelle that the fashion industry often has such devastating effects on the environment and the beautiful wildlife she aims to protect.

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle believes in the FFC initiative to bridge the gap between fashion and conservation and focus individuals’ attention back towards conservation efforts, while still highlighting beautiful creations from featured designers. Currently, Chantelle views FFC as a revolutionary movement.

In terms of FFC going more international, Chantelle also incorporates her support given her residing in South Africa.”It is critical that ideology of FFC is spread rapidly and showcased all over the world,” she exclaims, “ in order to bring about a global shift in mindset and to inspire a trend aimed at supporting conservation through fashion.”

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

The FFC team is thrilled to have such a talented and passionate wildlife photographer on board for future projects and for increasing conservation awareness.The images alone that Chantelle has captured speak volumes without having to say anything at all, and that is the beauty of photography as an art form.

For more of Chantelle’s exquisite work, visit her website: chantellemelzer.com

Keep up with our blog for more updates and staff features, as well as our social media accounts!