Elephantasia: Fashion Fights for Elephants X Fashion Scout SS18 Interview
Activist fashion design group Fashion For Conservation present Elephantasia, a unique group that combines rights and conservation for animals with the fashion industry. Elephantasia creates unique couture interpretations of the elephant, bringing awareness to our LFW audience on the extremity of the poaching crisis.
With the heartbreaking fact that 96 elephants are killed each day for their ivory, FFC wants to send vital messages to Fashion Scout attendees about how important individual consumer choices matter to our world. We are intrigued by the concepts behind Elephantasia, and wanted to have a chat with the FFC team to find out more about their unique, artistic conservational project.
How did you get into design?
Elephantasia showcases 24 designers from 24 unique countries around the globe. Each have their own history of why they became a designer and what inspired them to be a part of this campaign. Find out here.
As for how design became a part of our mission here at Fashion for Conservation (FFC), we suppose it was the world from which “one and a half” of our founders come…Nazanine Afshar is a creative director for major publications such as Vogue, Italian Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Allure; Samantha Zwicker is a wildlife conservationist and executive director at the Peruvian Amazon based non-profit Hoja Nueva; and finally Ava J. Holmes, connecting both industries as a former producer for fashion weeks worldwide, wildlife enthusiast and current reality TV show wilderness survivalist with Discovery Channel.
How do you feel about showing with Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week?
Touring Elephantasia in Europe starting with our opening night during Atzaro Fashion Festival in Ibiza and closing here at Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week has been and is an honor for all of us! 27 volunteers and biggest supporters on the team will be flying here from New York, Houston, LA, Seattle, NY and even 2 straight from the Peruvian jungle to join all of us for the evening…this speaks for how excited we are to be here especially those coming from Texas and California in the midst of all the emergency flooding and fires (sending them our love...)
What’s your main inspiration for this season?
The largest and most ancient land animal on earth…why elephants? Ah!
Can you imagine a world without elephants? Elephants are a keystone species to their environment, meaning that their ecosystem and other creatures dependent on them. Culturally, they symbolise globally practiced peaceful activities like yoga, meditation (picture Ganesha). They are also icons of the entire African and Asian continents. Elephants unite people in the global community that we are a part of today in a positive light. We need them to stay. We also need your help: join us in helping protect elephants from the poaching crisis (96 elephants are killed each day for their ivory) and from the circus of un-ethical tourism and entertainment.
What do you hope to communicate through your clothing?
"Today, it is not enough to just create pretty fashion campaigns and couture collections. As advocates of the arts, we have the responsibility to use the power of fashion branding and the available media outlets to spread important messages and to promote causes around the world that have a direct effect on the future of our planet!
Today, our message is preservation and protection of one of the most beautiful animals in the world: the majestic and beautiful elephant! Why? Because they are crucial to the health of our global ecosystem and the survival of our planet.
On behalf of all my colleagues at the FFC, I wish to express how delighted we are to be present at London Fashion Week 2017."
Nazanine Afshar, Creative Director and Co-Founder
Do you think the fashion industry is changing at the moment?
Yes. The industry is always changing it’s just that we now have to be more careful than ever as to how we allow change to happen. We see retail giants adopting fast fashion more and more into our culture which is not only wiping out the support for independent designers but wiping out entire species of wildlife on earth. Today, according to the IUCN REDLIST “nearly one-third of species are globally threatened or extinct.” Fashion is largely to blame. That is why we are here to help steer the industry towards being a part of the solution to its own problem. As participants—if you wear clothes at all—this is in fact all of our problem.
How do you think that London Fashion Week is different to other fashion weeks around the world?
It’s a hub of people passionate about innovation, a perfect petri dish for what we are trying to do here bridging the gap (or perhaps in a new way “minding” the gap) between fashion and each of our responsibility today to protect wildlife and the environment.
What do you hope for in the future?
“A world where every designer, every creative, and every creature like you and I that get to walk on this planet actually look out for each-other. The time to invest in the conservation of our shared home on earth—with our collective talent and individual fashion choice (buying from brands that also invest in conservation and sustainability)—is now. The urgency of conserving the earth now goes beyond cultural and wildlife preservation. Its basic human survival."
Ava, Executive Producer and Co-Founder
FFC Elephantasia’s emphasis on encouraging ethical tourism and entertainment is only a small fraction of why they are working closely to make changes to the fashion industry; which has a direct impact on our planets future. Fast fashion is proving to be wiping out endangered species, minimalizing the beauty and culture we get to share globally.
Elephants, being one of the most ancient animals to live, and being a huge part of African and Asian culture, it is crucial to share the growing importance of sustainability and using alternatives that save the world.
Words by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins & Amber Whitaker