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Filtering by Tag: #photography

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: HojaNueva.org 

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

@ellel__ | @hojanueva | @fashionforconservation

 

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.

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

READ MORE...

 

 

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

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