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Filtering by Tag: #wildlife

Cocktails for Conservation 2018 Recap

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker

@kellyzphoto

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:

 

@fashionforconservation

@fashionforconservation

@hojanueva

@hojanueva

 

Contact: 

PR@FashionforConservation.com

 

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.

Introducing Hoja Nueva: A Peruvian Based Nonprofit

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker 

@k_stateofmind

Hello all, 

We are three days away from our November 28th event, Cocktails for Conservation.  The non-profit benefitted at the event will be Hoja Nueva, which is based out of the remote Piedras region of Madre De Dios, Peru. Samantha Zwicker, the executive director of Hoja Nueva, will be speaking at the event as well. 

Pictured: Hoja Nueva Executive Director Samantha Zwicker 

Pictured: Hoja Nueva Executive Director Samantha Zwicker 

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker in the Peruvian Amazon 

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker in the Peruvian Amazon 

Samantha is a PhD student and current global health scholar here most days, and other days she is trekking through the Peruvian Amazon camera trapping  jaguars, treating dogs, or working in the sustainable development of remote, impoverished communities. Her work with Hoja Nueva is very diverse and covers a wide range of health and environmental topics. When Samantha is home you can find her off exploring with her dog Copper in the Pacific Northwest, or spending time with her family. 

"My love for animals and nature is what guides me," says Samantha, "and continuing to provide a voice for the people and animals that go unheard." Samantha aim to be a sort of global leader, inspiring others to make a difference and help much needed communities around the world. This drive to help created the idea of Hoja Nueva, a U.S 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

Samantha began working in the lower Peruvian Amazon almost five years ago, drawn to the frontier forests within the controversial region of Madre De Dios, known globally for illegal mining and logging operations. The interoceanic highway was the last straw - a vast expanse of concrete stretching from the ports of Peru to the ports of Brazil brought an influx of people to corners of the Amazon that have never been reached before. Like other areas of the world opened up by roads, the interoceanic highway led to the creation of thousands of more roads for logging, agriculture, and settlement. For migrants in search of free land and a better future for their children, the unprotected forests of Las Piedras, albeit viewed as untamed jungle, were a blessing. The deforestation and habitat destruction incurred over the past six years however, has been detrimental for the future survival of wildlife and rainforest. 

"We started Hoja Nueva as a grassroots organization," Samantha says, "to raise standards of living in impoverished communities while maintaining healthy rainforest habitat." Samantha and the Hoja Nueva team aim to effects change at a local scale, for the lives of people in both migrant and native communities. What is so commonly misunderstood is that these people are vital to rainforest conservation, therefore they must be constantly prioritized in research and conservation projects. 

Sustainability projects have become very important to Hoja Nueva's recent initiatives, or in other words, guiding Peruvian communities to thrive and develop in a sustainable way. Some of these projects include native communities gaining legal rights to their lands, and creating microfinance programs and alternative income opportunities. 

Developing waste management and water quality projects, linking sustainable cocoa producers with buyers in the U.S., and bringing students and experts from around the world to educate support in the ways that they can, are very clear goals for Hoja Nueva. To reach their conservation and research goals, Hoja Nueva raised $60,000 in 2015 and 2016 to build a research station and eco-lodge, as well as buy 150-acre plot of land within one of the largest destructive agricultural communities in the Piedras region. 

Pictured: The eco-lodge built for Hoja Nueva's research 

Pictured: The eco-lodge built for Hoja Nueva's research 

Pictured: The Hoja Nueva team camera trapping in the Amazon

Pictured: The Hoja Nueva team camera trapping in the Amazon

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker with a child from Lucerna's community 

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker with a child from Lucerna's community 

Although Hoja Nueva has made great leaps since its founding, Samantha recognizes that are always limitations and obstacles when working in a nonprofit. "We find ourselves consistently faced with issues - big and small - that we want to confront and work on but we do not have the funds," she claims, "One of the most difficult parts about running a nonprofit that is needs-based is not always being able to help."

Hoja Nueva goes through periods of getting significant donations and funds to aid projects, and then there are also equal periods of time when Hoja Nueva struggles to make ends meet. It takes a lot of well though out distribution of funds and saving to keep the projects going, as Samantha has already experienced in her dedication to Hoja Nueva so far. "It is not always easy, but in the end it is always worth it," she says. 

It is only with the help of donors that Hoja Nueva is able to continue their ongoing efforts and implement new ones. Some of their largest, most impactful projects will begin in January of 2018- but you will have to wait for either Cocktails for Conservation or our Third Annual Luncheon to hear about them! 

Pictured: Hoja Nueva's official logo 

Pictured: Hoja Nueva's official logo 

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker and Ronee Collins with members of the Lucerna community

Pictured: Samantha Zwicker and Ronee Collins with members of the Lucerna community

Local events, such as Cocktails for Conservation, spread awareness in a very effective way, through networking and creative stimulus of additions such as eco-fashion.

This brings in Hoja Nueva's partnership with Fashion For Conservation (FFC), one Samantha is very proud to continue. Hosting events with FFC spreads awareness of Hoja Nueva's efforts to a consumer crowd, which is crucial and hard to reach solely with Hoja Nueva's media efforts. "The fashion industry is the third most destructive on Earth, " Samantha claims, "especially as it relates to dies, cotton, and an uncanny amount of waste." 

The truth of the matter is, millions of people tune or attend events such as London or New York Fashion Week. Addressing this audience with issues that have erupted in the tropics and the world in general can make a monumental impact for Hoja Nueva's cause. Not to mention that partnerships like these are a statement for future conservation efforts. Samantha is very excited to speak about Hoja Nueva on November 28th at Cocktails for Conservation, held at Axis in Pioneer Square.

By living part of the year in both Peru and Seattle, Samantha stresses the importance of connecting with people and building networking for conservation projects. The topics of climate change, loss of biodiversity and wildlife species may have a new chance to gain awareness in the world of fashion, with the help of volunteers and those willing to put in a helping hand with education and promotion. 

I hope to see you all on November 28th! 

xoxo

-Kelly 


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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.

 

 

 

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

Kelly Zwicker

By Kelly Zwicker
@k_stateofmind


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endangered Species Choc 1 .jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Janice 2.jpg

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

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

XOXO, Kelly

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MEET FFC'S NEWEST BLOGGER
 @k_stateofmind

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

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

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker
@k_stateofmind

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

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

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

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

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker   Pictured: Anthar Kharana 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Pictured: Anthar Kharana 

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker 

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

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

Photography: Kelly Zwicker

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

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


FFC Headshot.jpg

MEET FFC'S NEWEST BLOGGER
 @k_stateofmind

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

Influencer Acknowledgements: Online Contributors to Fashion for Conservation

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

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

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

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

Pictured: Diana Horsfall

Pictured: Diana Horsfall

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

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

Pictured: Kaila Yu

Pictured: Kaila Yu

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

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

Pictured: Olivia Fleming 

Pictured: Olivia Fleming 

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

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

Pictured: Sushmitha Gururaj

Pictured: Sushmitha Gururaj

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

Pictured: Samantha Hunter 

Pictured: Samantha Hunter 

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

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

Pictured: Kreshma Nair 

Pictured: Kreshma Nair 

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

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

Pictured: Autumn Whewell 

Pictured: Autumn Whewell 

Contributor information/social media:

Diana Horsfall:

Website feature:   

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

Instagram: @queenhorsfall

Kaila Yu:

Website feature: 

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

Instagram: @kailayu

Olivia Fleming:

Website feature: 

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

Instagram: @theindiegirlblog

Sushmitha Gururaj

Instagram: @missminussized

Samantha Hunter

Instagram: @sam.hunter.sd

 Kreshma Nair

Instagram: @melangefundaes

 Autumn Whewell

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

Instagram: @autumnwhewell

 

 

 

Photographer Feature: Gowri Varanashi

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

Hi everyone, 

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

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

Pictured: Paul Rosolie , PC: Gowri Varanashi

Pictured: Paul Rosolie , PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

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

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

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

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

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

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

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

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

PC: Gowri Varanashi

PC: Gowri Varanashi

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

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

Thanks for reading! xx

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

Cheers,
The Fashion for Conservation Team

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Fashion for Conservation: Checking in from Ibiza

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

Hello everyone, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shriti Pratap (India)

Shriti Pratap (India)

Phrophetik (US) 

Phrophetik (US) 

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

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

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

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

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

Designers in the Ibiza fashion show: 

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

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

Cheers, 

The FFC team 

 

Through the Lens: With Chantelle Melzer

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker

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

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

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

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

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

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

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

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

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

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

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

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

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

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

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

Chantelle Melzer Photography 

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

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

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

 

NO VOICE: A Campaign for Elephant Rights

Rachel Hester

By Kelly Zwicker 

As part of the Elephantasia initiative, Fashion for Conservation (FFC) has partnered with talented designers Oscar Abbots and Riccardo Ceretti to produce the NO VOICE campaign. The campaign and related merchandise is to inspire the idea of giving elephants a voice. 

Why Elephants? 

For statistics, every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory. This is approximately 35,000 elephants each year. There is now a global poaching crisis that can be improved with awareness, education, and passion from the unity of elephant-lovers. Teaming up with leading forces in the fashion industry, not to mention continuously creating ways to get involved and promote the love for elephants, will better their future chances of survival. So, why elephants? Because they need us. They need us  to give them a voice.   

In the world of fashion, elephants even represent a global community. They are symbols of Africa, India, and Asia due to their origins. They are often symbolic of spirituality and yoga rituals. They have been present in our everyday world more than we often think. 

 

Elephants are remarkably intelligent and expressive. They are said to have amazing emotional intelligence as well, and actually mourn their dead very deeply just as humans do. Mother elephants are fiercely loyal to their calves. The idea of family is not lost to an elephant. 

Elephants are absolutely crucial in our ecosystem. They dig pools of water with their massive build that other animals need for survival. They are also gardeners of the earth, spreading seeds along lengthy routes that grow new plant life. In Central Africa specifically, the tropical rainforest ecosystem the elephants help structure is crucial to the development and progression of current climate change. 

This is the real world of environmental issues, and elephants are a helping hand to aid our fight against negative climate turns. They should be considered an ally, not a means to an end for their ivory. 

Imagine if we gave elephants more of a representation in the fashion world. To mimick their gentle colors and the textures of their skin, and created beautiful pieces that not only unite people together in common fashion interests, but also people and the need to support struggling wildlife. The more creativity we can put into sustainability and wildlife efforts, the more responsive an audience will be. 

There are many things that can divide humans, and elephants are a species that can unite us in our passion for coexistence and care for all species. Will you join the fight for elephants? Visit our site and see our online merchandise for NO VOICE, and check for regular updates on our upcoming events on the blog, campaign info, and social media accounts for Elephantasia and Fashion for Conservation.

Model: FFC Co-Founder Samantha Zwicker wearing a NO VOICE pullover 

Model: FFC Co-Founder Samantha Zwicker wearing a NO VOICE pullover 

Model: FFC Lead Blogger Kelly Zwicker 

Model: FFC Lead Blogger Kelly Zwicker 

Models: Co-Founder Samantha Zwicker and Lead Blogger Kelly Zwicker 

Models: Co-Founder Samantha Zwicker and Lead Blogger Kelly Zwicker 

Even purchasing merchandise for NO VOICE is one step closer to giving elephants a better future. Do your part and raise awareness of the beauty and necessity of the elephant species. 
All the best, xx

-Kelly