Fashion and conservation might seem worlds apart but in a welcome turn, the fashion industry is setting a new eco-conscious trend. A growing thirst for environmentally-friendly manufacturing, biodegradable fabrics and investment in ethical campaigns is sweeping through the world of catwalks and couture.
In a recent example, luxury online store YOOX teamed up with Australian designers, We Are Handsome, to launch their YOOX Loves the Reef project. The exclusive line of ocean-inspired swim and gym wear is set to support the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef – the beautiful 2,300km-long coral reef off Australia’s Queensland coast.
Part of the proceeds raised from sales will go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to help their work in finding solutions for the long-term preservation of this iconic habitat. The charity, established back in 2000, funds essential scientific research and conservation projects to fight threats to the reef’s survival.
The current outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is bleak. Pollution in our seas and the effects of climate change are damaging the reef at an incredible rate. Warming waters are causing significant coral bleaching. Bleached coral expels the vital symbiotic algae that usually lives inside it, leaving it white, stressed and struggling to survive.
If the coral can’t survive, neither can the marine life that depends on it. The Great Barrier Reef is home to a wide array of sea creatures including over 1,500 species of colourful tropical fish, rays, coral sponges, molluscs, sea turtles, dolphins and ancient giant clams. It’s also a breeding ground for magnificent humpback whales and the endangered dugong (or sea cow).
Tragically, scientists are saying that up to two-thirds of the reef has now been affected by coral bleaching. While corals can be resilient and recover from bleaching, they are far more vulnerable in this state. Research suggests that without urgent intervention, the entire reef could soon be dead.
The good news is that by taking actions to reduce the threats to the reef, we can help it to recover – and preserve this natural wonder for future generations. And that’s where the Great Barrier Reef Foundation comes in. Their work includes funding cutting-edge research into innovative reef solutions, such as using specially-developed artificial surfaces to attract new coral larvae to settle and grow, helping the reef to regenerate. They also fund projects devoted to closely monitoring and protecting endangered species like green sea turtles that depend on the reef.
Anyone who has ever tried their hand at diving will know the breath-taking beauty of the world beneath our waves. From the vivid pinks of healthy coral reefs to the flashes of colour as fish dart by, it’s an unforgettable sight. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is built on the principle that “everyone’s actions, big and small, are vital to the future of the Great Barrier Reef.” And it looks like YOOX and We Are Handsome are keen to play their part.
And for ocean-loving consumers? The Yoox Loves the Reef project is a chance to rock the latest trends in activewear while helping to preserve one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. That’s got to be a win-win!