Fabric of Life
The Nature of Fashion
Wildlife and wild places have stoked human imagination and fuelled creativity for millennia. Earth’s natural diversity underpins everything we do, and fashion has long drawn inspiration from it. At its best, fashion is about diversity, creativity and self-expression: but there are invisible threads that link the clothes we wear to darker, less palatable truths.
We want to see a world where cultural and biological diversity flourish, where the extraordinary web of species and ecosystems that is the foundation of all life is cherished and conserved. But our insatiable thirst for buying more clothes more often is putting the Earth’s most precious wild places at risk, pushing species towards extinction, destroying livelihoods and communities.
The Fabric of Life is unravelling, and fashion is a major contributor.
We think it is time to demand more from the fashion industry and to make it fashionable for consumers to take decisions that benefit all life on Earth.
Enlightened fashion-lovers have a legacy as champions of nature
Women deciding to advocate for conservation-conscious fashion has led to more than a hundred years of ground-breaking and influential conservation policy. In the late 1880s, philanthropically-minded socialites in both the UK and the US became aware of the destructive impact of the plume trade, which supplied feathers for women's hats. At the time, it is estimated that 5 million birds were killed for their feathers each year. These women were horrified, and decided to rally other women to help stop the slaughter.
What began as a series of socialite tea parties —specifically inviting women who were likely wearers of feathered hats – attracted hundreds of women to the cause. Female journalists, actresses, and suffragettes lent their voices from within their various spheres of influence, admonishing women to stop wearing plumes.
Their accomplishments were impressive. As well as contributing to the passing of various Acts to protect birds on both sides of the Atlantic, the movement was instrumental in the founding of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and what later became the Audubon Society. Once bordering on extinction, populations of birds like the snowy egret subsequently rebounded, and many have since thrived.
About the Fabric of Life series goals
The winds of change are starting to blow. Many suppliers, influenced by campaigning organisations, are cleaning up their acts; they are shifting their sourcing and supporting innovations. New sustainable materials are finding their way into the market place, supported by key change makers. Many brands are beginning to incorporate ‘circular' thinking into their business models, addressing issues around sourcing, usability, waste and recycling, and making sure that they are not simply extracting ever more of the planet’s resources to create clothes that are destined for landfill.
Our everyday life choices and patterns of behaviour make a difference – we can be more conscious consumers and support the change makers who are leading this crucial transition.
Sustainable fashion is on trend: it’s time to walk our talk. If the fashion revolution has started, we aim to be in its vanguard. Participants can access all the core content for a single ticket of £500. Along the way, we’ll highlight projects working to save species and ecosystems threatened by the fashion industry, to support cleaner options during the processing and fabrication stages, to invest in designers, scientists, and labels committed to offering fashion with a green footprint, and to help us all be able to make earth-conscious decisions both when we shop, and in our homes throughout the lifecycle of our clothes.
a strong and vibrant network of allies
Allies who are leaders in business, finance, and law. Women and men who are culturally conscious, interested in fashion, food, and health. Concerned citizens and parents who are aware of their relationship to the environment and the impact their everyday choices have on the natural world and future generations. Their concern extends across their spectrum of influence, to their families, friends, networks and businesses. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with.
We are looking to create a platform from which to grow philanthropic support for the environment.
We want to engage people at different points along the fashion supply chain, from forest to fitting room, and encourage them to take a stand for the extraordinary diversity of life. The Fabric of Life series has the potential to bring together a strong movement, reviving the spirit of the original pioneers of the late 19th century, challenging the status quo and taking a step towards a world where diversity can flourish.