It’s not too often that a huge fashion brand stops and takes the time to remind us of the world’s fragility, but having been raised by vegans it’s something that immediately commands my respect.
The debate surrounding the sustainability of seafood has become en vogue recently, following projects like Channel 4’s ‘Big Fish Fight,’ a series of documentaries touching on the ethics surrounding the fishing industry, led by some of the country’s most famous chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
And now Selfridge’s has got on board with Project Ocean, a campaign which highlights the sustainability debate surrounding the world fishing industry.
The project has been launched with a capsule collection of gorgeous slogan t-shirts, tote bags and towels by ethically-conscious designer Katharine Hamnett.
Priced at a cool £40, the shirts boast statements like ‘No More Fish In The Sea?’ ‘Stop And Think’ and ‘Save The Sea,’ and not only highlight the issue but drag the debate even further up the trend barometers.
But it doesn’t end there. Over the next few months, Selfridges has planned numerous events and partnerships to highlight the issue.
Esteemed fashion curator Judith Clarke has created her own surreal interpretation of the project, with Washed Up, a collection of some of the most intriguing ocean-inspired fashion pieces, including Philip Treacy’s iconic crystal lobster hat (as famously worn by Lady Gaga.) The Ultralounge in Selfridges London will play host to these and other surreal pieces, including precious trinkets, antique treasures and accessories from designers like Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler and more.
Meanwhile, conceptualist artist Beth Derbyshire will be showcasing ‘Seven Seas,’ a series of seven, seven minute long films documenting seven seascapes from around the world. Both exhibitions will be showcased in the Selfridges London Ultralounge until 8 June.
A range of top chefs, including Antonio Carluccio, Tom Aitkens, Fergus Henderson, Cyrus Todiwala and Giorgio Locatelli will also be running seafood-themed cooking demonstrations throughout the two month campaign, and even teamed the NME has got on board, with a series of Project Ocean gigs by young upstarts like The Sounds and Young Rebel Set at the Selfridges London store.
But Selfridges haven’t just taken the soft option – one of the most striking aspects of the campaign is the close collaboration between the department store and key organisations like Greenpeace, the WWF and the Marine Conservation Society. Twenty years ago, eco organisations were the territories of dreadlocked hippies and were seldom referenced by leading designers, so it’s really refreshing to see how ingrained they are in this project.
Photo by Smudgetikka
Something that is even more impressive is the event that Selfridges have chosen to close the initiative.
On 8 June 2011, Project Ocean draws to with the GLOBE World Oceans Day Parliamentarian’s Summit, which will see legislators from the 27 Member States of the EU descending on Selfridges London with the aim of achieving consensus on sustainable reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Whoever said fashion was a frivolous game? This is retail activisim at its best.
You can find out more about Project Ocean on the Selfridges website, donate to the project “>here , or download the fab free iPhone app, which provides a guide for choosing sustainable options while shopping or eating out, here.