Fashion for Conservation was founded in 2012 and born in Seattle by three inspired women determined to save the world from the environmental costs of fast fashion. Our nature-inspired fashion campaigns educate consumers on animals and ecosystems with a percentage of proceeds benefiting nature conservancies and charities. Fashion for Conservation has been featured in the pages of the New York Times and Vogue, on the fashion stages of London, Milan, Ibiza, New York, Berlin, and Vancouver fashion weeks, and via global humanitarian platforms like the United Nations and TedX.
From 2012 to 2018, Fashion for Conservation premiered exclusive RTW and couture designs inspired by the animals and ecosystems we cherish (full listing of participating designers here). Our global physical presence continued to expand via fashion runways and our own ‘Cocktails for Conservation’ events, intended to unite the diverse and often opposing audiences of conservation speakers/supporters and fashionistas in the 2nd most wasteful and polluting industry in the world.
From Summer 2019, Fashion for Conservation will foray into e-commerce in order to bring sustainable fashion designs at affordable price points to customers and businesses alike. While on-boarding eco-conscious brands to www.fashionforconservation.com, we will also launch Artesanías online, with the intent to grow Fashion for Conservation into a sustainable lifestyle brand in 2020.
Artesanías is a Fashion for Conservation and Hoja Nueva sponsored program to enable financial independence for indigenous artisan craftswomen by building a sustainable future for their families while preserving and respecting their ancient traditions. Fashion for Conservation operates hand-in-hand with Hoja Nueva and artisans in Madre De Dios to design community engagement strategies and grow small scale artisan businesses. We augment their preexisting talents for weaving, embroidery, and beading with hands-on training workshops to create high quality, traditionally inspired pieces for a modern, international market. Artisan craft is an alternative income opportunity against the pressures of mining, trafficking and logging that threaten the Amazon rainforest. It began in 2015 when Samantha Zwicker, co-founder of Fashion for Conservation and founder of Hoja Nueva, a Peruvian nonprofit and US based charity US 501(c)(3), began supporting predominantly women in creating quality handicrafts that reconnect youth with their native cultures. Hoja Nueva has historically worked with migrant communities that practice large-scale slash and burn agriculture, which diminishes biodiversity by causing habitat destruction and fragmentation. Hoja Nueva also has sustainable cacao farms that decrease environmental impact while maintaining productivity. Their team trains "Community Leaders" in shade-grown, organic farming to better organize migrant farmers, support their sustainable transition, and help them obtain fairer wages.
Exceeding the benefits of feminine empowerment, cultural preservation, poverty eradication and local economic growth, this project also has a profound environmental impact. Economic investment in artisans almost directly replaces economic investment in resource-intensive industries. By supporting women in the creation of unique clothing, purses, jewelry and more, buyers are providing them with economic opportunities that allow communities to be less dependent on industries such as logging, mining, and intensive farming. These industries threaten both sacred land on which these indigenous communities have lived and protected for generations as well as precious Amazonian rainforest habitat, thus impacting global ecosystem balance. Timing is crucial in order to provide these communities not only with local economic alternatives, but also finances to protect themselves from outside pressures of others wanting to take or invade their land for such industrial activities.
Women living in remote, previously inaccessible communities of Madre de Dios have a sudden new local market opportunity outside of their own co-community members. This is due to a steep rise in tourism in the Amazon basin due to the growth of Puerto Maldonado and introduced road access via the Inter-oceanic Highway. However, every woman is still in need of training in order to take their skills and turn their production into viable products. They also need support communicating and interacting with outsiders without sacrificing cultural integrity, managing and reinvesting finances, and with marketing and outreach to better sell their goods. This is where we come in.
Read more about Artesanías here.