this loewe bag looks like an elephant, and helps save them too
Designer Jonathan Anderson talks about teaming up with the people of Kenya on the limited edition project.
Images courtesy of Loewe.
“We wanted to involve the local community in the project,” says Jonathan Anderson of his latest idea for Loewe, launching a limited edition range of the brand’s Elephant Mini Bags to benefit the Elephant Crisis Fund. The local community he’s talking about are the people of Ol Malo in the heart of Kenya’s Samburu region, who share a special relationship with elephants and work closely with the Kenya-based organisation Save the Elephants (the Elephant Crisis Fund is a joint mission between the charity and the Wildlife Conservation Network). “The women of the Samburu Trust are renowned for their skilled craftsmanship with colourful beads and live among the elephants in northern Kenya, so it made total sense to work with them,” says Anderson of the beaded adornments they’ve given the Loewe elephants. The Samburu Trust engages the traditional authority of elders in the community to help improve the lives of the Samburu people, making sure their land is secure for future generations. The beadwork project was born 15 years ago during a catastrophic drought, giving the women of the community work that enabled them to sustain their families.
The Elephant bag itself came about because of the work of Knot on my Planet, an organisation that works with the fashion industry to bring awareness to elephant poaching and the ivory trade. “I had seen some of their projects through Knot on my Planet, as well as watched the Leonardo DiCaprio documentary The Ivory Game,” says Anderson. “I think it's all about keeping a balance and working towards sustainability,” he says of his interest in conservation. “We need to give back. For instance, the trafficking with ivory is not just terrible for the elephants themselves but has also a very negative impact on the ecosystems of Africa and Asia. It’s all connected and therefore we need to make sure we counterbalance the negative effects of what we do by supporting initiatives like this.” All proceeds of the bag go to the Elephant Crisis Fund, and will help provide rapid support for projects designed to stop the killing of elephants, thwart traffickers, and end the demand for ivory.
The bag is available on Loewe's website, and in Bergdorf Goodman.
This article originally appeared on i-D US.