Catwalk In The Jungle
Iconic American designer Nicole Miller has launched her Pre-Fall 2021 collection, which is partly inspired by an early 2020 visit to Northern Thailand’s ancient jungle where rescued elephants roam in their natural habitat. The collection features elephant and jungle symbols and motifs on various garments and prints.
Whilst staying at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort at the confluence of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, the fashion designer and style icon was introduced to a cast of gentle giants that call the luxury resort home. The resort is world famous for its elephant camp that, along with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), were set up in 2003 primarily to help street begging elephants and others that could not help themselves. More than 20 elephants live in the jungle environment of the resort along with their entire mahout (carer) families.
Here the Foundation has introduced appropriate experiences that are designed to allow the elephant caretakers to raise the funds they need to look after their elephants without forcing them into activities they might not enjoy. Nicole participated in the Walking With Giants signature experience that provides an optimum way of getting to know the elephants and develop a deeper emotional connection with them.
She also spent time observing Thailand’s majestic elephants in their natural habitat from the deck of unique transparent Jungle Bubbles. This world first project can be scaled and shared with other elephant camps to allow them to give a subset of elephants – those that prefer to only meet their mahouts and are bonded into friendship groups – a natural life in a manner that the elephants enjoy, while generating income to cover the cost of their fodder and upkeep.
All funds raised by the percentage of sales of Nicole Miller’s Pre-Fall 2021 collection in August was put towards lending a helping hand and resources to Thailand’s traditional elephant owning and wild elephant communities. The almost total disappearance of tourism throughout the country due to Covid-19 continues to have a negative effect on Thailand’s 3,800 odd captive elephants and their carers who still need to find around US$20 per day just to feed their elephant, let alone their own family, and meet all their other needs – elephants consume between six and ten percent of their bodyweight daily and it costs approximately $18,000 to look after a single elephant for a year.
To compound matters, the Covid-19 crisis has reportedly forced at least 85 elephant camps in Northern Thailand to close and as a result Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and the Foundation have expanded their work to meet the Covid-19 challenge.
Since the start of the national lockdown in Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and the Foundation have taken in three elephants and their carers. The Covid-19 elephant refugees, whose camps were unable to care for them and would ultimately have left them unfriended and unfed, are now matched with friendship groups and, of course, have their own diet plan. The adoptees – Boon Rod, Kam Mool and Thong Inn – sometimes even join the Foundation’s popular daily livestreams when the gentle giants take their daily walk out to the resort’s grasslands or forest and enjoy a river bath or mud playtime that demonstrates just how cheeky these graceful animals can be.
For more information or to donate, sponsor a rescued elephant, or book a private livestream that stars the rescued elephants live from their natural habitat in Northern Thailand’s ancient jungle, click here.
Source: Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.