Wildlife Fashion Artist

As the people who have followed Breaking The Brand and, now, Nature Needs More know, we have always openly shared our thinking, research, insights and ideas. This post explains why we created the Style Icon Afternoon Tea, introduced in the last blog, to raise funds for our next RhiNo demand reduction campaign in Viet Nam.

In the coming months and years, Nature Needs More will be exploring if we have a better chance of reducing the demand for (illegal) luxury wildlife ‘products’ if we work to embed demand reduction into the ethical and sustainable fashion industry strategy. While the conservation sector does much good work, from a biological perspective, I have seen too little evidence that it can get its head around the wildlife trade from a consumer perspective. As a result, it is stuck in a ‘business as usual’ approach and too slow to respond to evolving consumer desires and motivations.


I have watched the rise of the vegan movement with great interest and have been impressed by their achievements. Up against the powerful and well-resourced farming lobby groups, they appear to have had a greater impact on consumer education, improvements in animal welfare, corporate social responsibility in the food retail sector and evolving consumer behaviour, than the traditional animal welfare organisations. Their achievements have been particularly impressive when people with a commitment to a vegan lifestyle have come together to form an organisation, an example being the success of Animals Australia.

So, if the vegan movement has been that catalyst for change for farm, and other domesticated, animals, can the growing ethical and sustainable fashion movement become the catalyst to drive change for the use of exotic wildlife? Given Nature Needs More’s particular focus is the wildlife trade (both illegal and legal), together with the commoditisation of the natural world, the possibility and benefits of embedding demand reduction for exotic wildlife in to the ethical/sustainable fashion strategy is something we have been researching and will explore in the coming months.

In addition to everything else, the fashion industry has status with and can influence the buyers of these products, the conservation industry does not and cannot; and, to be frank, while their primary focus is keeping their ‘free-trade’ donors happy, they never will.