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Matriarch: Feminist Fashion Saving Elephants

This photoshoot called Matriarch is all about ethical, feminist fashion saving elephants

By Chere Di Boscio

Fashion editorials are often considered to be fun, commercial, and artistic. But this one is special.

It’s aimed at creating conversation, raising awareness and expressing the role of feminism in fashion.

Created by Arraei Studios, it focuses on the MATRIARCH – a social system in which females hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. 

And it’s not the first time they’ve embedded a message in their work: earlier this year, they embarked on a new project exploring the essence of womanhood — “La Femme”  – and uncovered how we can capture the diversity of womanhood through imagery and spark a conversation addressing and disrupting the narrative of womanhood, all while still holding fast and true to our nature.

MATRIARCH delves into the role of women in society as leaders, as action takers where they posses, in equal parts, strength and vulnerability, femininity and fierceness and everything in between. But it’s also an expression of feminist fashion saving elephants.

To create the shoot, the Arraei Collective partnered with four other ethical and sustainable brands to create concept imagery that speaks to the idea of the matriarch, while raising awareness of elephant poaching in Africa.

Here, the concept of the matriarch is significant, as elephants are one of the few mammals that organise themselves in a female-led society with the dominant role being that, of course, of the matriarch.

Elephants have been at the mercy of poachers for countless years in Africa. Not only is this detrimental to the elephant communities, but it also greatly impacts the lives and welfare of the rangers who protect them. It is estimated that 10-15 000 elephants are killed each year in Africa (that’s an average of a whopping 34 a day).

The rangers that patrol the national parks are often forced into extreme encounters and live incredibly challenging lives, often walking for days to patrol huge expanses of land in order to protect our wildlife from poachers.

Raabia Hawa saw how this lifestyle was impacting the welfare of these rangers, and began her journey as an advocate for Ranger Welfare, raising awareness about poaching in Kenya and Africa. 

The images in this fashion editorial were designed to evoke a sense of resilience and determination aligned with that of Raabia Hawa, the founder of Walk With Rangers (WWR), and an Honorary Game Warden with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Ten percent of the photoshoot’s funds were dedicated to Walk with Rangers. 

The Matriarch is a passionate and powerful leader, hunter and gatherer. She is feminine and fierce, simple and complex. The dichotomy that the matriarch reflects in her role is often expressed in fashion through imagery relating to female power.

This photoshoot aims to express that power as a form of femininity, grace, community and vulnerability. It is a tribute to the divine sisterhood and empowered females – no matter what their species! 

If you have been inspired by this shoot, and would like to donate to Walk With Rangers, please click here.

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Matriarch: Feminist Fashion Saving Elephants

ethical fashion saving elephants

All elephant images via Pexels

Chere Di Boscio

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