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Fashion as a Force for Nature
Dr. Nalini Nadkarni May 5, 2018

The fashion industry is changing in ways that will help restore our planet.

Thought leaders in the fashion industry are actively addressing the need to eliminate environmentally damaging by-products and waste created by the fashion industry. Scientists and conservationists have the same concerns.

I am a biologist who studies tropical rainforests on four continents. I am passionate about the urgent need to protect these forests and all natural systems.

I wish to connect the ecological values of nature with the power of fashion. Capturing the beauty and complexity of the natural world through the clothes people wear can raise awareness and stewardship with of nature and at the same time manifest the sincere efforts of the fashion industry to become environmentally sustainable.

I seek innovative collaborations with fashion professionals who share the vision of making fashion an environmentally sound industry to strategize how to design, manufacture, brand, and market clothing that depicts compelling images of nature.

The vision is to create clothing with fabric that is printed with biologically
correct images. Each item is accompanied by a hangtag with information about the biology and conservation of the species depicted, with links to social media that provide in-depth information.

Thus, the wearers of the clothing can become agents of nature awareness and fashion sustainability the ways through the conversations sparked by their garments.

These images can range from the geometric intricacies of tiny microbes to the swirled cosmos of celestial bodies, and which can be tiled and scaled to reflect nature’s diversity. Garments can depict real biota (e.g., dramatic redwood trees), or exemplify vulnerable animals (e.g., polar bears).

Landscapes can capture the emotional sense of a particular habitat and of the wearer (e.g., the mystery of a mist-shrouded cloud forest; the sultry ambiance of a lowland tropical forest). Images can also work as metaphors (e.g., the rings of trees that mark our seasons and our life times).

Potential audiences include clients of haute couture, nature-deficient office workers, outdoor-loving recreationists, and children who wish to wear their favorite animals. A percentage of profits can support causes to protect forests or enhance sustainable fashion practices.

People who wear this clothing will articulate the critical and increasingly fragile bonds between humans and nature, and efforts of the fashion industry.