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What You're Really In For...September 20th!!

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker 


Hello all, 

We are rapidly approaching fall season, and with fall comes the lovely month of September, the month of our Rainforest Gala and runway! We are so excited to welcome back talented artists, musicians, and performers to compliment our runway presentation. Are you ready to be apart of our celebration of conservation and sustainable fashion? We would love to have you.

Evening Program: 
6:30 PM: Three-course Dinner Gala, Live Performances, Auction and Presentations
8:00 PM: Fashion Runway Show - Six Rainforest-Inspired Collections

Official Lineup:

Rainforest Gala Anthar Kharana.png
Rainforest Gala Social Media Alfonso Sanchez.png
Rainforest Gala KellyDawn Riot.png
Rainforest Gala Luly Yang.png

Official Press Release:

Dress from last year's annual fundraiser for Hoja Nueva inspired by the organisation's sustainably grown cacao. Design by   JOSÉ ZAFRA   .

Dress from last year's annual fundraiser for Hoja Nueva inspired by the organisation's sustainably grown cacao. Design by JOSÉ ZAFRA.

Thursday, September 20, 2018 at Seattle's newest and most sophisticated private event venue (Block 41), Fashion for Conservation and Hoja Nueva will bring a limited number of guests on a walk through the rainforest in style; witness this exquisite one night only celebration with diverse flavors and cultures, captivating sounds of the wild, and vibrant designs inspired by rainforests. Help us create a space where diverse peoples can share and celebrate their unique stories and experiences living in harmony with wildlife and their habitats. This event funds rainforest conservation, wildlife rehabilitation, and sustainable agriculture with Seattle US 501(c)(3) and Peru based nonprofit Hoja Nueva (

In previous seasons, this Rainforest Runway has featured animal and rainforest-inspired collections from as many as 18 international designers and hosted between 500-800 guests each time while making a huge impact to conserve rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon...

Seattle's 4th Annual Rainforest Gala & Runway will host only 300 guests, so make a reservation for you or your table party, before its too late!


 Why Rainforests?

The urgency of conserving the earth's rainforests now goes beyond cultural and wildlife preservation. Fragmented forests resulting from increased agriculture store less carbon and adversely impact wildlife movement and gene flow, resulting in higher levels of atmospheric carbon and regional species declines. As a component of the recent Paris Accord, slowing climate change by method of conserving rainforest is an urgent matter that requires strong institutional support for projects that shift how we source our food, water and energy, and support for rainforest conservation and habitat protection.

Hoja Nueva confronts deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon by conserving rainforest and building capacity within remote and indigenous communities by developing micro-finance programs and empowering women; implementing rigorous scientific research in waste management, water and wildlife; and creating alternative income opportunities that protect indigenous culture andwildlife habitat.

"Thanks to last year's rainforest gala, our zero-carbon footprint eco-lodge has been built in the lowland Amazon rainforest along with 2000 trees to create a research center that provides conservation and agroforestry education in a world threatened by rampant deforestation and climate change," states co-founder of Fashion for Conservation and Hoja Nueva director Samantha Zwicker.

Block 41 is Seattle's newest and most sophisticated private event venue, located in the heart of the bustling Belltown neighborhood. Address: 115 Bell St, Seattle, WA 98121

Mark your calendars for this wild event and stay tuned for the full lineup! Tickets are extremely limited - get them before they're gone! 

“The urgency of conserving the earth’s rainforests now goes beyond cultural and wildlife preservation. It is now a basic human need.”

— Samantha Zwicker, Co-founder at Hoja Nueva and Fashion for Conservation

10 Reasons Why NOT TO MISS Seattle’s 4th Annual Rainforest Gala & Runway!

- WALK ON THE WILD SIDE. Take a walk through the jungle in high style! Learn about ecosystems, wildlife and culture of the Amazon through fashion, music, presentations and visual art! TWO lucky guests will also have the opportunity to WALK THE WILD RUNWAY.

- FOODIES PARADISE. Three course mouthwatering Peruvian style dinner with an exquisite sweet ending prepared by a top local dessert chef behind “Seattle’s Hottest New Restaurant,” 2120! *GF/Vegetarian available by request.

- FALL IN LOVE. You never know what may happen when you meet your significant other (or future wife!) on the wild side...take your date home with plans for an exotic 7-day jungle get-away that you won in the live auction!

- BE INSPIRED: “After last year’s gala....I was speechless with tears in my eyes! The dance performances, designs and diversity of the audience moved me so much, like it awakened something in me, I felt so at home, and so inspired!” - Cayetana San Segundo (now part of our team of passionate volunteers, dedicated to creating a once in a lifetime experience for YOU again this Rainforest Gala).

- MEET ANTHAR KHARANA FROM COLUMBIA. Anthar Kharana will be sharing the power of traditional songs used in different ceremonies of the Americas to comnect us with the spirit world..

- SUPPORT INDIGENOUS WOMEN. All gala guests will receive a special gift from one of artisan women we are working along side in Peru. The evening will help fund alternative income opportunities that support women of YINE and Ashaninka lineages in continuing to live in harmony with their land and community. Some of their beautiful hand woven and naturally dyed bags, jewelry and home decor will also be available for purchase in the marketplace prior to the runway show.

- HELP COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND PROTECT RAINFORESTS IN YOUR NAME. Each guest will have the opportunity to purchase and protect pristine Amazon rainforest and be part of the land management plan with Hoja Nueva 501(C)(3). This will provide as a buffer zone for indigenous communities, life-long habitat for endangered wildlife, and healthier lungs for our planet.

- WITNESS THE RAINFOREST RUNWAY. As seen in vogue and previewed at London Fashion Week: witness 6 stunning international runway shows, lively dance performances, eclectic sounds of the wild and other forms of visual art—all inspired by the richly diverse rainforests of the world!

- WEAR THAT DRESS/SUIT YOU HAVEN’T. We hear so many complaints about there not being enough events in Seattle to dress up for. Here is your opportunity, we can’t wait to see what wild and wonderful attire in which you adorn yourselves!

- KEEP WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE....WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, AT LONDON FASHION WEEK & IN THE ACTUAL AMAZON. Check out the lineup of exclusive auction experiences with which lucky gala guests will continue on their journey into the wild...

Tickets are limited to 300 guests, so get them before it’s too late! *Ticket prices increase at the end of August. **All ticket levels are 100% tax deductible.

For more information and ticketing

In the Jungle with Fashion for Conservation and Hoja Nueva

Kelly Zwicker

By Elle L

The rainforest is lungs of the earth, and its energy resonates immediately. Everything intensifies here. You form bonds with people quickly, your life is in each other’s hands. There’s a sense of euphoria created by being somewhere so far away. You feel connected to nature. It’s exhilarating and beautiful. But all that glitters is not gold. The rainforest is being destroyed at a rapid rate... to destroy the Amazon is to destroy ourselves – it produces 20% of all oxygen and we need to protect it - for our own survival.

As a music artist, I find a lot of inspiration in nature. I also ambassador Fashion For Conservation - partner to Hoja Nueva a non-profit eco-retreat nestled deep in the Peruvian jungle. I wanted to visit this project to see for myself what the Amazon is really like. When I talk about sustainability and conservation or write a track, I want some experience to go by. Not just passion without intent. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I was ready.

Elle L @hojanueva photographed by @stoyanovjones    Wearing: @wearthewalk | @marybensonworld | @calvinklein

Elle L @hojanueva photographed by @stoyanovjones

Wearing: @wearthewalk | @marybensonworld | @calvinklein

I traveled to Peru from London with DJ friend, Lara Fraser. We traveled for thirty hours straight. Over the course of eight days: two traveling, four nights in the heart of the jungle and two nights in Lima, Lara Fraser and I got to witness firsthand the raw beauty of the Peruvian landscape. We shot a music video for a track I’d only half written before leaving, a magazine editorial with a variety of emerging sustainable designers and got to see and feel a part of the great work Samantha Zwicker, founder of Hoja Nueva and her team do on a daily basis to protect the beautiful landscape and all that reside within it.

The internal flight from Lima, Cusco and final stop Puerto Maldonado was where I really got to see Peru come to life. From beach to mountains, to rainforest, the bio-diversity tickles the creative imagination with excitement. Butterflies. It’s a fiction like state. The visuals are so dynamic and immersive. As soon as you see the tall trees and orange glaze of the Amazonian rivers and streams you get the sense you are truly in a different world, another dimension. Time stands still and as you get off the plane, you’re in the fantasy. But the fantasy is so damn real. 

We traveled to Las Piedras River from the airport with guide Erik, a driver and two Shamans. Some of the creative group we were joining were getting themselves ready to do ‘Ayuhuasca’ and Shamans are spiritual guides who create this ancient vine tea. It’s one of the great Amazonian secrets – described as a medicine that produces profound and eye opening experiences for the person taking it. It’s Illegal everywhere else but here. We bounced along the off-roads in our jungle car all the way to the river, where we met Sam… She was headed into town for a night to re-stock on food supplies but we gave her a big hug before jumping on the boat for our twenty-minute hike to the eco-retreat. 

I lost all concept of fear as soon as we arrived. The Amazon is so big and I am so small. There’s greatness and vulnerability everywhere. Vibrancy interlaced with muddy waters. Worries and time melts away and you just are there, in the moment. A weird balance between adrenaline and calmness – I’d call it instinctive. It takes over. You know there are so many animals the media has taught us to view as predator. The truth is they are more scared of you. Except for the mosquito. The vampire and tiniest of the lot is by far most dangerous. A couple of our group fell sick from mosquito bites and two required hospital treatment. Both are fine now.

Elle L & Lara Fraser @hojanueva photographed by @Stoyanovjones

Elle L & Lara Fraser @hojanueva photographed by @Stoyanovjones

As soon as we arrived to Hoja Nueva we met our team and our guides, who we trusted immediately…  they live and breathe the jungle. Their senses operate on different levels of awareness and so you naturally follow their lead. There was an interesting creative collective of us – sixteen people including our models, photographer, writers, make-up artist, videographer, artist, yoga instructor, chef, myself a music artist, Lara, a DJ and Ava my good friend and founder of Fashion for Conservation. Rhonda, a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter I met a London Fashion Week was headed to the stream for a swim and invited me along. I impulsively said yes as I was hot and wanted to cool down. I kept imagining a Caiman or snake being under the muddy water as we climb down and in. They certainly could be… but there was something about Rhonda that was so calm and already in tune. I tapped into her frequency and relaxed. You pretty quickly realize we are part of nature. One. We are just pretty desensitized in the concrete jungle.

There’s no WIFI in the jungle and to be honest I barely thought about it. The entire lodge is made of reclaimed timbre and there were no windows… you really are in the great outdoors. Our room was on the first floor and beautiful, simple. Well thought out and I appreciated the attention to detail - a four posted bed with mosquito net overlooking dense jungle to inspire us and slightly scare us at night when we needed the toilet and were too chicken to go into the forest alone. Time went so quickly. There are natural triggers such as a cockerel who would wake everyone up at dawn, closely followed by Howler monkeys that sound like a Bowie-esq starship landing. It awakens your senses and then you get used to it.

Elle L in the Cacao Fields of Madre De Dios, Photographed by @Stoyanovjones

Elle L in the Cacao Fields of Madre De Dios, Photographed by @Stoyanovjones

Angel, a local photographed by @Stoyanovjones

Angel, a local photographed by @Stoyanovjones

Every day here was a new adventure. We visited the cacao fields, where we shot an editorial for Esthechoc, a chocolate brand I’m face of a new campaign for and we got to gift some chocolate to a local Peruvian girl, who had never tried chocolate, even though her family are cacao farmers. She loved it. I’d never tried the raw fruit. I loved it. You can learn so much from this simple exchange. Cacao farming is just one element of Hoja Nueva’s focus – to provide healthy revenue streams for indigenous people so they are neither tempted or forced into illegal activity such as the deforestation of their own environment and killing innocent and endangered animals. Sadly, illegal damage to the Amazon is still prevalent. We saw this all too closely. In our retreat was Max Bear; a baby Howler Monkey whose mother had been shot and Max still wore shrapnel in his shoulder. He was so innocent. We had a lot of animals staying with us at the retreat, mostly rescued dogs, puppies and a kitten that thought she was a puppy called Pepper. She was wonderful… tiny, fun and fearless. Though they all knew not to venture out further than the lodge walls and they were very protective of us... 

Orphaned Baby Ocelot, Khan as photographed by Harry Turner

Orphaned Baby Ocelot, Khan as photographed by Harry Turner

Harry Turner, one of Hoja Nueva’s directors and former British Army solider looks after Max. He is part of a new incentive to re-wild animals caught in poaching and black market conflicts. Harry and Sam recently tried to re introduce a beautiful Ocelot to the jungle but ten months into their mission, Khan still just an adolescent cub was shot. It happened on protected conservation land and was a devastating blow. Situations like this fuel the importance that more needs to be done to prevent further loss of innocent species. Right now, it happens daily. The only way to make a change is to speak up and actively support on the ground efforts that re-educate locals and offer sustainable solutions that both support their livelihoods so they are not temped or forced into illegal activity and so they protect their own habitat for their future generations and our own. Governments have a responsibility to help and we have the ability to put pressure on by being consistently vocal. Things need to be better for everyone’s sake. This is why Hoja Nueva and projects that dedicate their life and resources to ensuring a better future are really important to support.

Samantha Zwicker, Ava Holmes, Lara Fraser, Elle L, Renee Eddy

Samantha Zwicker, Ava Holmes, Lara Fraser, Elle L, Renee Eddy

There were many favourite moments from my time in the rainforest but climbing from our boat up a waterfall for some pictures with four of our team was one of them. We shot some drone footage for the music video here too. You don’t have time to be fearful, once you get to that moment where you are at the top; you feel a sense of being at one with the environment… and everything that’s in it. It was a lot of real beauty, we would have our makeup done in fifteen minutes and then hike through the jungle for twenty minutes and the humidity meant it was barely on before we would climb to a location for a few shots. It was fun to be completely natural in a world of CGI and overtaking… We were constantly adapting and using our creative intuition on how to create magic within the environment. Clayton, our drone videographer also managed to capture some never seen before Harpy Eagle footage one morning at sunrise – this Eagle is endangered and the footage is a beautiful but tragic reminder that we need to do more quickly.

Saying goodbye is never easy so instead I said see you soon. I know we will be back and I’ve taken a way a piece of the jungle with me in heart. We took a flight to Lima and stayed at Belmond Miraflores Park for two nights before heading back to London. The hotel was stunning and an oasis of chill with views of the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed most delicious local food at Tragaluz. Ceviché and Pisco sours are specialties here and I recommend them both. We were back on the other side – the concrete jungle… still far from home but we were back in the technological bubble. 

Elle L and Lara Fraser and Belmond Miraflores Park. Photographed by @StoyanovandJones

Elle L and Lara Fraser and Belmond Miraflores Park. Photographed by @StoyanovandJones

The city is a different kind of beautiful if you chose to not be detached from the natural world. Miraflores is vibrant with art and Latino city culture. We had a deeper appreciation for everything… simple things became a luxury - a hot shower, laundry, ice cubes. I think the most important thing we can all do is to realize the greater picture and not to disconnect or forget that we have a power to effect things even from so far away. Out of sight should not be out of mind. We need to keep in tune to the environment and I want to encourage positive actions so we can make our impact a positive one. It’s important. The butterfly effect is real; it’s not too late to make things better if we are more conscious and supportive of grassroots action. I recommend everyone to get outside more to realize that we are all part of the same world. Best of both worlds is not an impossible notion if we are mindful and appreciative of how we live and where our fashion, food and lifestyle come from.

To find out more, visit and support Hoja Nueva: 

Stay tuned to Elle L’s socials for new music inspired by her trip to the Amazon:

@ellel__ | @hojanueva | @fashionforconservation


Cocktails for Conservation 2018 Recap

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker


Hello all, 

Our Cocktails for Conservation event had fresh new faces out to support both the mission of Fashion for Conservation (FFC), and honoring the conservation efforts of 501 (c)(3) non-profit Hoja Nueva. 

The event was held at the Capitol Hill location of the Riveter. The small aesthetic details of the venue mixed well with the amazonian theme of the night, even down to the herbal cocktails. 

Venue: The Riveter at Capitol Hill

Venue: The Riveter at Capitol Hill

Herbal cocktails by Root Kin Remedy

Herbal cocktails by Root Kin Remedy

Pictured: Root Kin Remedy Cocktails

Pictured: Root Kin Remedy Cocktails

What made it all special? A speech given by both FFC founder Ava Holmes as well as Hoja Nueva founder Samantha Zwicker. Samantha's speech was both educational and inspiring, as she went through her presentation of her proud moments with ocelot Khan, her mentorship with her interns and their unique projects at her eco-lodge, or sharing some of the amazing wildlife that populates in her backyard in Peru. 

Interested in learning more? Find Hoja Nueva's website here for more information. 

We appreciate our sponsors so much, that come out to our events and provide great experiences for our guests! We had free beauty treatments from Vann Edge and chocolate tasting from Indi Chocolates. We love collaborating with local businesses. If you are interested, we would love to hear from you! 

Speaking of chocolate, Hoja Nueva practices sustainable agroforestry and cacao production, and cacao is the most sustainable crop in Peru. The history of cacao cultivation is thousands of years old in that particular area! To learn more about cacao and Hoja Nueva's plans for future permaculture projects, visit here

Pictured: Indi Chocolate branding and products

Pictured: Indi Chocolate branding and products

Pictured: Vann Edge Beauty Bar

Pictured: Vann Edge Beauty Bar

Enjoy some more snapshots of the night below! Special thanks to Janice Cabrera for DJ services, KIND, Belanof, LOLA, GTS Kombucha, Vann Edge Salon, Microsoft, and Indi Chocolates for contributing to a wonderful night! 

What would a fashion event be without a mini photoshoot? We had three lovely models (Marie Johansen, Yuliana Kelley, and Andria Liann) supporting the cause, and weaving through the crowd throughout the party. 

Makeup for the night was done by Francesca Belgrano. The gold details of the face and body makeup created a stunning finish! 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker (kellyzphoto)

Pictured: Yuliana Kelley, Marie Johansen, and Andria Liann

Pictured: Yuliana Kelley, Marie Johansen, and Andria Liann

More snapshots: 

We truly believe in the bridging of fashion and conservation, and partnering with Hoja Nueva has been eye-opening for what we can do to contribute to conservation on a larger scale. We as individuals, consumers in the fashion industry, have the ability to make very important, sustainable decisions. 

By focusing on the Amazon Rainforest specifically, we can make big changes towards stopping deforestation, which threatens entire ecosystems. Sharing and spreading the word in even the community of Seattle is an amazing start! 

A big thank you to everyone that attended Wednesday's event, and we hope to see you all at the Fashion for Conservation gala in September! 


Stay in touch with our social media:









FFC's Lead Blogger: Kelly Zwicker

@kellyzphoto & @k_stateofmind

Kelly is a lifestyle blogger based out of Seattle, Washington. She has her own website 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.

UK Animals Rights Activist Feature: Carla Fraser

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker


This week, Fashion for Conservation (FFC) is featuring U.K actress and animal rights activist Carla Fraser, for her unique contribution to conservation efforts especially through film creation. She is passionate specifically about rhino and elephant conservation, and strives to keep creating new and fresh content that engages new people for the cause. 

Carla wrote a short film “Grey Future,” which discusses a future where rhinos and elephants don’t exist. Carla aimed to instill an urgency in the audience about the importance of saving these species. “I wanted to create a film to push people to act,” she says, and she did. She made this film on Go Fund Me donations, up to 2,000 pounds in total. 

Carla, as a young girl, grew up having toy elephants and rhinos. She grew up drawing pictures of her favorite animals, just like millions of children around the world. The film addresses the point that children growing up in the Western world see these species in books and toys, as opposed to children in Africa that can see them in their backyard. 

Stuffed animals represent something larger here; children in the future may not see another elephant or rhino in a zoo, or on the discovery channel. A stuffed animal elephant or rhino could soon represent an extinct species. How do we explain to children how we watched this happen? “They’ll be our next dinosaurs,” Carla claims. 

Carla also believes that grouping rhinos and elephants together in campaigns will aid in their conservation efforts, given people often forget that rhinos are estimated at only seven more years on this earth, and elephants are estimated at twenty. The fact of the matter is that the general population may not be aware of the urgency of the issue; that the extinction of these species’ will really be that quick. This is the mindset we need to adjust, and push for quicker action. 

A film that inspired Carla’s ongoing involvement in conservation is called “Killing for Profit,” an exposé about the brutal poaching and trafficking of rhinos. A brave journalist, Julian Rademeyer, went undercover and risked his life to show the world that wildlife trading needs to be stopped. For another example, in Vietnam, ivory is used for a variety of purposes, one of the most common being a cancer drug or a hangover cure. It has become a “trend,” like something trends in the beauty or fashion industry, and it has increased demand for ivory dramatically.  

Below are pictures from the 'Action for Elephants' protest outside parliament, London in 2017 on the day of CITES. 

Pictured: Carla Fraser with two other volunteers outside Parliament. 

Pictured: Carla Fraser with two other volunteers outside Parliament. 

A supporting argument is that ivory is not traditional to Vietnamese culture, so there is no “need” to make it such a staple in the market. And the consequences for elephants and rhinos are severe. Carla’s “Grey Future” additionally aims to stop the idea that ivory is a “sexy” or “elite” purchase, because it has evolved to be just that. These species suffer and die for the selling of ivory, simply for a trend. 

Despite how much progress needs to be done with global biodiversity, Carla remains positive for the future. “I do believe we’ll see change in our lifetime. For example, China has shut down their ivory trade. Of course there are other issues, but in terms of ivory trade, I think we’ll get there.” 

Pictured: Art for inspiration behind Fraser's Grey Future 

Pictured: Art for inspiration behind Fraser's Grey Future 

The key here is to not lose hope or assume the situation is out of our hands. We must play to our strengths and use our roles in society and in the entertainment industry to evoke change, to inspire people to participate. 

We need more individuals like Carla Fraser to use their voices in society to make a positive difference for the species on this earth. 

“One day we’ll be in our rocking chairs and be happy to know we saved these species. And it will all pay off.” 

Fraser speaking at the Royal Geographic Society 

Fraser speaking at the Royal Geographic Society 

Carla took an instant liking to Fashion for Conservation’s (FFC) initiatives and mission, and is happy to be a part of our future campaigning. FFC is constantly reaching out to individuals and organizations to help spread the message, thanks to our modern technology and resources. “That is the beauty of social media,” Carla claims, “People being passionate about the same thing, we can link up.” 

Carla received the invitation to come to London Fashion Week this past September with FFC’s show. She was immediately drawn to the idea, because of how fresh and unique the combination of fashion and conservation is, and what that combination can accomplish in the future. “People can get a bit lost in the colors and pattern of fashion,” she says, “paving new ways towards sustainable fashion is essential. Fashion for Conservation is up with the big players.” 

Events, such as London Fashion Week, can so often host a very specific type of demographic. However, in September, with more people actually engaging in the meaning behind the clothes, we can progress towards expanding the demographic we host at these International must-attend shows. The wider the demographic, the larger the reach. And we need all the reach we can get. 

Carla believes in pushing boundaries to extend our voice in sustainable fashion, and additionally educating as many people as we can on the many alternatives to fashion we can take that are environmentally friendly. When asked about the massive consumerism within the fashion industry, Carla admitted how much she has learned since reading about FFC’s sustainable design materials. “FFC has been the very thing that has educated me on fashion and open-mindedness for sustainable possibilities.” 

Pictured: Fraser posing in rhino merchandise to support rhino conservation

Pictured: Fraser posing in rhino merchandise to support rhino conservation

What if other fashion lines follow suit? What if designers start working solely with sustainable fabrics? What if sustainable fashion can really launch an international trend? This future is possible if we use our voices, as larger groups. These massive industries are capable of change. 

We are already seeing change on many platforms, especially on social media. For instance, the vegan movement has taken off. As opposed to considering being vegan a trend, it has become a dedicated lifestyle for millions of people. People are promoting the benefits of and making it ‘attractive’. Models, actors, artists, and bloggers are proudly stating their vegan diets, as doing their part to support the environment and reducing the amount of animals slaughtered for meat in the agricultural industry. “The openness will really help us, Carla says, “that’s what makes me proud of this generation.” 

There is a beauty and power in the act of unison. We can come together and evoke change.

Carla believes in the effect of a group formed first by dedicated individuals. “People power does matter. Every voice does matter. They have to listen. Change is absolutely possible.” 


It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Carla about her contributions to elephant and rhino  conservation, and she plans to continue using her voice to educate new people to understand the impending extinction of these species with continued inaction. As a rhino ambassador for IAPWA and film maker, Carla wishes to continue finding creatives ways to get people to listen and find compassion in this matter. 

Stay tuned for more features of incredible individuals in future posts, both domestic and international! 



Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker


London Fashion Week debuted Fashion for Conservation's (FFC) AW18 Campaign to save the Amazon rainforest. The show was presented by Fashion for Conservation, the United Nations, Fashion Scout, Magpies & Peacocks, Hoja Nueva and the Whitley Fund for Nature.

The show was a catwalk featuring designers' interpretation of the Amazon rainforest, as well as a VIP cocktail party at London Fashion Week AW18. 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong

PC: Simon Armstrong

FFC has engaged the fashion community to become advocates and raise support for grassroots work around the world. 

This season’s preview event, catwalk show and VIP cocktail party put a media spotlight on the Amazon rainforest, the largest biodiversity hotspot on the planet—home to over 50% of all the world’s biodiversity.

Rainforest Runway at London Fashion Week, Sunday February 18th, featured the zero waste collection “Impermanent Flora,”—Re:ne(w) by Rene Garza for Magpies & Peacocks non-profit design house—an avant-garde collection made from end of bolt textiles and up-cycled clothing. Guest designer of Kalikas Armour by Jatin Patel opened with his fantastical rainforest inspired collection, “Magestic Mystics.”

Cocktails for Conservation followed the show, a VIP celebration with conservation themed sponsored by Snow Leopard Vodka, Elephant Gin, Fair Drinks and Bar 135, keynotes speeches by FFC, U.N., and Whitley Fund for Nature ambassadors, and live DJ set by the LALLAS. Drink proceeds benefited Fashion for Conservation’s Rainforest Runway campaign Hoja Nueva, confronting deforestation in the Amazon by protecting land and by providing indigenous communities with the support necessary to produce sustainable crops, and ensure fair direct-trade wages (

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

To close the event, guests were gifted a box of chocolates with a golden ticket to the Whitley Awards Ceremony [April 25th 2018, Buckingham Palace] Guests posted a photograph of themselves with a golden “X” [symbolizing a stand against extinction] painted on every hand to put a social media spotlight on conservation and to help fund efforts around the globe by encouraging donations from their social media followers. 

Fashion for Conservation was founded by three women determined to make a positive impact on the world through creating conscious-couture. Nazanine Afshar (Art Director, 100 Years of Vogue), Samantha Zwicker (Conservationist, Hoja Nueva) and Ava Holmes (Fashion Week Producer) combine their careers to create fashion campaigns that educate and inspire consumers while supporting conservation.  Elephantasia, Fashion for Conservation’s previous campaign, rocked September 2017's London Fashion Week runway, featuring designers'  interpretation of the African elephant while putting a media spotlight on the elephant poaching crisis.  

PC: Simon Armstrong  

PC: Simon Armstrong  

PC: Simon Armstrong 

PC: Simon Armstrong 

Will you move forward with FFC towards a sustainable future? What does going green mean to you? We must all use our voices and love for fashion to stand against habitat destruction and loss of precious wildlife. Fashion has a chance to make a difference for the suffering species on this planet- and the movement begins with YOU. 

This event Partnered with The Whitley Fund For Nature [trustee Sir David Attenborough & patron HRH Princess Royal]

Keep up with FFC:

Read FFC's AW18 recap in Fab U.K Magazine:

FFC's Lead Blogger: 

Kelly Zwicker



Kelly is a lifestyle blogger based out of Seattle, Washington. She has her own website 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.

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. 


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. 


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.