Elephantasia: Fashion for Pachyderms at London Fashion Week

By Diane Small

Amongst all the ethical fashion offerings of the season, one event stood out this London Fashion Week – Fashion for Conservation.

Twenty four renowned international designers gathered to create runway show Elephantasia, a global series of elephant-inspired fashion exhibitions that would see proceeds go to the African Wildlife Foundation via Fashion for Conservation.


Elephantasia was launched in 2016 with the goal of raising awareness about the global elephant poaching crisis through fashion shows and events across the USA, UK and Canada.

Cathleen Nicol of C.Nicol, the Dubai based handbag label. C. Nicol contributed a sweet little red knapsack constructed from eco friendly Piñatex vegan leather. She loved the pineapple based fabric because its irregular grain and thickness reminded her of an elephant’s hide. Her design, when spread open, even resembles an elephant’s head, with the straps as the ‘ears’.

New York based ethical fashion label Kromagnon’s offering was dresses embellished with elephant-inspired embroidery, whilst Indian designer Shriti Pratap expressed subtle references to the pachyderm in the form of oversized shoulders on a pleated grey jumpsuit. There are plenty of other designers contributing to the cause, too, including:  Annafora,    Gabriela Rose,  Vismaya,  and around a dozen more.

Not all the designers are normally dedicated to making sustainable fashion, but they ensured that their collections for this show were produced ethically and from eco-friendly materials.

Nearly 100 elephants are slaughtered for their ivory tusks every single day around the world – a figure which is nudging the majestic elephant towards the endangered species list.

“Having visited Africa and India with my children and experienced elephants in freedom and captivity, this project is very close to my heart. To imagine a world for our children without elephants is indeed very sad. It is wonderful to be a part of the Elephantasia campaign and contribute to FFC’s c efforts to try and change the future for these wonderful animals,” said Ms Nicol.

The inner lining of her bag was designed by 96 children providing their interpretation of a bright and vibrant elephant. The inspiration behind asking children to participate in the lining came from the fact that if action is not taken to protect the elephants now, they may be extinct by the time these children become adults.

It may be a small gesture, but we hope that this fashion movement helps not only raise awareness of the plight of the elephant, but also engenders a style culture where wearing animal products such as ivory or leather is completely frowned upon.

For more details visit  fashionforconservation.com

Diane Small
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