Tuesday 4 June 2013

Saving The Rainforest With Lily Cole

You should, as the saying goes, never judge a book by the cover. Take model and actress Lily Cole. Her ethereal, almost alien looks have seen her spook up the catwalk for years. She's been cast as a sea-nymph in Doctor Who, and a mystery girl in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. She seems almost apart from this world. Otherworldly.
Her efforts on behalf of a wide range of ethical campaigns, and her role as the face of Sky Rainforest Rescue tell a different story. Now, in conjunction with them and the WWF she's launched a new range of jewellery, with an unusual main component.
Lily was inspired by a visit to wild rubber plantations in north-west Brazil, seeing huge, delicate sheets of the stuff hung out to dry. The rubber, in jewel-like colours, sparked an idea. It took a little work, though. She says:
"I looked into embroidering it, I looked into putting lace into it and creating different textures. I looked at carving it, but in the end all I had were these millimetre-thick sheets of rubber, so I ended up doing things very simply."
By which, she means pendants, ear-rings, bracelets and rings in warm, soft colours teamed with bronze inserts. They're somehow delicate, their simplicity all the more striking given the craftsmanship of the pieces.
The jewellery is designed to highlight an important issue: the erosion of wild rubber plantations in Brazil. Farmers, faced with dwindling profits in the face of plantation rubber, are cutting down hundreds of acres of virgin forest to clear space for crops and livestock. The task is to persuade these communities that wild rubber still has a place in the global marketplace, and is a viable alternative to farming. Lily wants to help save a billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. Encouraging the use of this most sustainable resource is a good way of keeping the trees where they belong: as part of the lungs of the world.
Projects like this are important to the role of green economics as a part of the general ecological movement. Empowering local communities to make the most of the resources to hand rather than forcing them into an ill-suited subsistence farming model helps them, us and the planet. Here at the Pier we applaud Lily's efforts, and note that this is no expensive vanity project. Her jewellery is thoroughly affordable, with rings starting at just a tenner. Well worth checking out. Why not get a little rubber in your life? You'll be doing us all a favour.

Lily Cole's Jewellery for the Sky Rainforest Rescue project is available at stylistpick.com.

*UPDATE* sold out with more coming soon, I'm told. If you Facebook, you can sign up to be told when new stock becomes available.

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