African conservation charity Space for Giants’ latest campaign features 15 capsules on Net-a-Porter and a jewellery line at Gemfields with Zambian emeralds and Mozambican rubies
This World Elephant Day (August 12), Africa-headquartered conservation charity, Space for Giants, released the story of one of their employees, Sam Karmushu. Growing up on a community-farm in Kenya, amidst grazing livestock and seeing elephants every day, Karmushu’s tale highlighted these vanishing landscapes. “Sam says that most of these routes have now disappeared to make way for human activity, and elephant herds are smaller. Poaching and loss of habitat have created challenges that require pragmatic solutions, which we’re working to innovatively address,” begins Max Graham, founder and CEO. An example of this ingenuity is their recent partnership with the Africa-focussed mining company, Gemfields.
Titled Walk for Giants, the fundraising- and awareness-building campaign for African wildlife conservation kicks off today with the release of two exclusive capsules: a selection of 44 pieces from Gemfields and 15 sustainable collections from online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.
Rubies in the roses
Introducing us to the wildlife-themed series, Gemfields’ CEO Sean Gilbertson says it features Zambian emeralds and Mozambican rubies set in an assortment of necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, pendants, etc (₹1,12,127 upwards) across brands such as Backes & Strauss, Bina Goenka, Fabergé, Fehmida Lakhany, Francis de Lara, Sandy Leong and Zoe & Morgan.
Highlights include Leong’s three-piece offering, which comprises a Sahara Poison Ring crafted with brushed 18k recycled yellow gold. Taking inspiration from the ‘poison rings’ that became popular in the 16th century — used to hold poison, perfume or any other substance — her variant has a whimsical hand-carved giraffe motif, clasp opening and contains a ‘hidden’ rough emerald. VAK Fine Jewel’s Elephant Pop Ring’s (₹29,18,974) yin-yang design is symbolic of the interdependence of the natural world. “The artisanal, one-of-a-kind handcrafted ring, is designed with two Mozambican non-heated rubies, which are a metaphor for the blood of elephants that’s too often lost to poachers. The centre rose-cut diamonds are symbolic of the elephant’s eyes,” says Gilbertson, adding that the launch was rescheduled due to the pandemic. The campaign will culminate in an immersive conservation journey along an ancient elephant migration corridor later this year. His favourite pieces, he says, are Bina Goenka’s elephant earrings, Fabergé’s emerald chain necklace with an elephant ‘surprise’ pendant and Francis de Lara’s safari sunset ring.
Net-a-Porter’s exclusive capsule collections (₹9,567 – ₹7,91,194) — with everything from asymmetrical pleated skirts, jumpsuits, leather sandals, jackets, linen sun hats, swimwear, duffel bags, and more — come from high-end brands such as Burberry, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Brunello Cucinelli, Chantecaille as well as emerging designers such as Hereu, Fisch and Bassike.
Call for a conscious market
Funds from the initiative are intended to support Space for Giants’ frontline conservation work across nine African countries — Angola, Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. “Proceeds will go towards supporting rangers and law enforcement personnel with training, critical equipment and operational support, construction of electrified fences around smallholder farms, etc,” says Graham, who founded the organisation in 2011.
“With loss of tourism revenue and the reduction in philanthropy brought about by Covid-19, it means there are less funds available for rangers to protect wildlife and their critical habitat from illicit trades,” he says, adding, “It is our objective with this campaign to demonstrate to the fashion industry that a unit of consumption can be converted to a unit of conservation. This is not only good for conservation but is critical for business in an increasingly environmentally conscious marketplace. Herein lies the opportunity for big brands and we hope that they soon start investing in the protection of standing natural ecosystems.”