As all who follow GYPSETGIRL are aware, two of the biggest parts of my life are fashion and the outdoors. So it’s an easy conclusion that the organization Fashion for Conservation would be a company I would happily be involved with. That being said, when they asked me to document a photo shoot for their collaboration with WildlifeDirect to celebrate the amazing beadwork from the Oltome Nadupo Women’s Company and for Fashion for Conservation global showcase and fashion show “Elephantasia” (being held on September 18th at London Fashion Week), to raise awareness for the poaching plight of the African elephants, how could I refuse!
“Elephantasia”is the brain child of creative power houses Ava Holmes, Nazanin Alvarez and Samantha Zwicker and showcases elephant inspired clothing designed by fashion designers across the world, including myself. This cause is so important to me. It is an environmental disaster and is in such desperate need to be a priority on the global preservation radar. In understanding this, I feel a basic obligation as a human being to oblige, beyond the affinity I feel for Fashion for Conservation. So off I went to Brooklyn to cover this fun day of fashion, photography and most importantly working to keep the elephants safe.
The day began at Wrythe studio in Brooklyn, NY. I proudly arrived with the beautiful beadwork by the Oltome Nadupo Women’s Company, entrusted to me by Wildlife Direct. The Oltome Nadupo Women’s Company was created by the women of the Maasai Tribe in Kenya, Africa to bring more financial stability to the women and children of the tribe and to help stop the poaching of the elephants for their ivory. It’s important to understand that the Maasia have a deep understanding of this crisis. They live and interact with the elephants everyday and see first hand the negative ramifications from the killing of these creatures. In turn, the elephants have a deep understanding and respect of the Maasai as well. Simply put, elephants get it! They feel emotions like human beings. They feel sorrow and empathy and truly understand suffering and love. Elephants feel anger and remorse too. They have the capacity for logical thinking. The capacity only one other animal has, the human animal. They are acutely aware of what’s happening to them, which makes this crisis even more heartbreaking. The Maasai recognize this and unfortunately have to witness the aftermath of the slaughter ( occurring at the rate of one every 15 minutes). In creating the Oltome Nadupo Women’s Company, they are in my opinion, making benevolent efforts to stop the destruction. So, considering this and all of the Maasai people’s extensive knowledge of the situation, it would be a smart choice to follow their lead..no? This is why FFC and Wildlife Direct have rallied around Oltome Nadupo Women’s Company in using their gorgeous beadwork and jewelry to spread the word. I was so happy to assist in this and honored to deliver what to me is priceless artwork. And I could see from the reaction of the other ladies on set, they all agreed!
The photo shoot started with hair and makeup for the gorgeous and lucky model who had the job to pose for the campaign, along with the photographer Kimber Capriotti working with the lighting to ensure every shot did justice to each piece of jewelry. Between the two of these talented ladies they created beautiful images and really brought the beadwork to life!
All in all it was a a great day, with inspiring women working together to help continue in growing awareness for a very worthy cause.
Stay tuned for more to come from my work with Fashion for Conservations and WildlifeDirect!