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Filtering by Tag: #london

UK Animals Rights Activist Feature: Carla Fraser

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker

@kellyzphoto

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! 

 

LFW AW/18 FULL SEASON RECAP

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker

@kellyzphoto

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 (Hojanueva.org).

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:

https://www.instagram.com/fashionforconservation/

https://www.facebook.com/fashionforconservation/

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

https://fabukmagazine.com/fashion-conservations-aw18-overview/


FFC's Lead Blogger: 

Kelly Zwicker

@kellyzphoto

@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.

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.

 

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.