The Luxury Channel was in conversation with Ava Holmes, one of the Founders of Fashion For Conservation….
Fashion For Conservation was founded by three women determined to make a positive impact on the world through conservation-inspired couture: Nazanine Afshar (Art Director at British Vogue), Dr. Samantha Zwicker (Wildlife Conservationist at Hoja Nueva) and Ava Holmes (Fashion Week Event Producer and TEDx Speaker). By combing their talents and passions to create dynamic fashion campaigns, they hope to educate consumers on animals and ecosystems, while donating funds to wildlife groups.
Their partner is the Whitley Fund For Nature (whose trustee is Sir David Attenborough, and their patron is HRH Princess Royal). At this year’s London Fashion Week AW18, Fashion For Conservation was on a mission to protect the Amazon by engaging influential members of the fashion community to become advocates for grassroots work around the world and to protect threatened habitats on which both wildlife and people depend for food, water and ultimately, life.
A preview event put a media spotlight on the Amazon rainforest, the largest biodiversity hotspot on the planet, home to over 50% of all the world’s biodiversity yet covering only 2% of the earth’s surface. The preview event included keynotes from conservation leaders including United Nations UK Director Steve Fletcher, award-winning actress and Whitley Fund For Nature ambassador Miranda Richardson, and Stacy Flynn, who is Founder and CEO at Evrnu and a Stella McCartney textile partner.
The Rainforest Runway at London Fashion Week featured two designers’ interpretation of the Amazonian rainforest. Jatin Patel, guest designer at Kalikas Armour, opened with his fantastical recycled rainforest inspired collection, “Magestic Mystics”. This was followed by the zero waste collection “Impermanent Flora,” — by Re:ne(w) by René Garza for Magpies & Peacocks non-profit design house — an avant-garde collection made from end-of-bolt textiles and up-cycled clothing.
We ask Ava Holmes, who was Event Producer, how Fashion For Conservation all began. “We officially started the organisation as a trio,” she says. “Samantha lives in the Amazon year-round, Nazanine goes between sets of the top fashion brands in the industry (most recently, she art directed part of the new 100 Years of Vogue series with Anna Wintour) and myself with one foot in fashion industry and the other in the conservation world. This movement for me was a natural combination of the worlds in which I grew up – my father is a wilderness survival trainer and my mother a globe-trotting artist and film producer. For me, Fashion For Conservation is where these two worlds finally merge, which sort of explains a lot of how it all came about, and why a movement like this is so crucial in the state of our world today.”
So, what are the group’s goals for the coming year? “This year, our goal is to raise an additional one million pounds for conservation through fashion. We are doing this by hosting our fourth annual Rainforest Gala in Seattle in June, and co-hosting the Whitley Fund For Nature Gala in London in November. We are always on a mission to reverse fashion’s impact on the planet through engaging creative communities by being the voice for the voiceless,” Ava tells us.
Finally, we ask Ava what people can do to help reverse fashion’s impact on the planet. “The best way is to actually visit a conservation site on the ground to understand and contribute hands-on. We have many recommendations for amazing ethical tour experiences up close and personal in some of the most wild remaining places on the planet. You could also attend a Fashion For Conservation event that aims to engage and inspire the fashion community while raising awareness and funding for various critical conservation initiatives,” she says. “Another way is by using our consumer power for conservation by buying from brands that give back to nature through a portion of their profits and/or source their materials sustainably. To date, we have worked with over 100 brands in creating nature-inspired collections that re-invest a portion of the proceeds back into conservation.”
For further information, go to www.fashionforconservation.com.