Net-A-Porter & Gemfields Team Up With Elephant Conservationists On A Collection That Gives Back

Photo: Courtesy of Francesco Carrozzini.
Over the last six months, the pandemic has caused a steep decrease in tourism and philanthropic funding to Africa — and those on the frontlines protecting animal habitats from poachers have witnessed a significant increase in the wildlife trade. Luckily, Space for Giants, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting African elephants and their natural environments, is working tirelessly to stop them. Now, they’re not alone: On Monday, Space for Giants launched Walk for Giants, a multi-layered collaborative campaign with Net-A-Porter and Gemfields. To kickstart the campaign, the nonprofit released two exclusive capsule collections: a 15-piece sustainable collection to be sold on Net-A-Porter and a 44-piece collection of responsibly-sourced colored gemstones courtesy of Gemfields. 100% of the proceeds from both collections will go toward supporting Africa’s elephants and their natural habitats. Some of the items include a Hereu canvas and leather tote bag, a Burberry safari jacket, and an emerald-cut ring designed with Mozambican rubies.
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Photo: Courtesy of Francesco Carrozzini.
The idea for Walk for Giants came to the nonprofit’s founder, Dr. Max Graham, during a trip to Kenya prior to the pandemic. While there, Dr. Graham walked the Ewaso Ng'iro river, the “lifeblood to Kenya’s second biggest elephant population, most of the wildlife in central Kenya, and many of the Kenyan people,” with former Stylebop fashion director Leila Yavari and supermodel Lena Perminova, as well as a number of other philanthropists and influential people, to show them the elephant migration route that the species has taken for nearly 60 years. During the four-day journey, questions arose about how the fashion industry could be of help to Space for Giants, and vice versa: “How do we connect this experience with the fashion industry to create a much broader audience for these issues? How can we help brands come on board and become more compelling to their customers, but through that process, give back?” 
“The concept can be boiled down into a very simple question: How can we turn a unit of consumption into a unit of conservation?” Dr. Graham explains. The founder, with the help of Yavari and Perminova, has been building the Walk for Giants campaign ever since.
The corresponding photoshoot, which features both collections, not to mention two elephants, took place at Enasoit Game Sanctuary in Kenya, which is located at the crossroads of a number of animal routes. “You can watch the procession all day,” Dr. Graham says. “It was an astonishing place to do the shoot.” Space for Giants tapped renowned fashion photographer Francesco Carrozzini and creative director Riccardo Ruini to elevate the Walk for Giants campaign, while models Selena Forrest and Arizona Muse were chosen as its faces. “Selena represents youth,” Dr. Graham says of Forrest. “She represents a lot of hope within her community, and I think she's passionate about Africa and she's passionate about conservation.” Another reason for choosing Forrest was to bring a younger, more vibrant audience to the conservation effort, which Dr. Graham says is “a bit stale.” “In many ways, [Forrest] represents a real opportunity to make the industry more mainstream and communicate to an audience who we wouldn't normally speak to.” As for Muse, Dr. Graham calls her the “bonafide face of sustainability in fashion,” making her an obvious partner for the campaign. 
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Once it’s safe to travel again, Dr. Graham plans to hold a second walk along the Ewaso Ng'iro with some of fashion’s most influential individuals in an effort to raise awareness and funding for Africa’s natural ecosystems. “The fashion industry has a bit of an image problem around the environment,” Dr. Graham says. “However, it's also very, very powerful — it's one of the biggest industries in the world.” 
Dr. Graham founded his nonprofit Space for Giants in 2010 after a number of the Kenyan elephants he’d been tracking and studying as part of his Ph.D. studies at Cambridge University were killed by poachers. “It really hit home to me, both how vulnerable elephants were to the illegal wildlife trade, and also just how little value they and their habitats have in terms of creating custodians among local people and national governments in Africa,” Dr. Graham says. Today, when the issue of wildlife poaching has once again seen a spike in popularity, it’s more important than ever to protect the natural ecosystems that hold elephants and other wildlife.
Shop both charitable collections today on Net-A-Porter.com and Gemfields.com and learn more about Dr. Graham’s mission at SpaceforGiants.org

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