Ava J. Holmes – Fashion Show Producer of FFC
I have always enjoyed making friends with people with lots of experience in their field. Those friends often share life stories about how they become established. One common thread I hear: ” When I focus on doing one thing well, opportunities usually arrive.”
How did I meet Ava? Last year, Ava and I happened to sit next to each other while I attended the FashioNXT fashion show as a judge and official partnered blogger. According to her, she was impressed with my outlook of the night and the way how I carried myself. She immediately extended her invitation to me to join her show at 2018 London Fashion Week. Next thing I know I was in London for LFW!
I was very impressed by her beauty, inner strength, and very interesting quest in fashion, which is why I decided to feature her on my blog. Now I am pleased to share the interview:
“Barefeet or stilettos? That question sums up who I am, either running around barefoot in the Amazon rainforest, Yucatan jungle or the beautiful PNW wilderness, or running around in stilettos orchestrating fashion week shows.
I grew up in the wild until I was 6 with my father, a wilderness survival trainer (Primitive Pursuits, Ithaca, New York), and then took to following my mother around whilst she was on tour as a film maker and lead singer in an alternative punk band. I kinda got thrown into two extreme worlds as a child, thought I wanted nothing to do with either and so fashion seemed to be this perfect opportunity to create a career around something completely different than where I had come from.”
How did you get into fashion industry?
” I originally worked in the music festival industry managing stages and hospitality tents, then organizing the festivals, eventually became connected within the fashion community and started organizing fashion events throughout New York. There is actually a lot of cross over between music and fashion industries in the sense of whose “VIP,” and that the ultimate goal of a production is to deliver an amazing show that sells the product. Especially nowadays with the idea of 360 marketing—a well rounded brand actually embodies a lifestyle personality all inclusive of music, fashion, food, travel, etc.”
When did fashion for conservation started? What were the biggest challengers your team face and how you conquered it?
“Fashion for Conservation officially started in 2012 with a series of successful media campaigns that engaged fashion audiences in donating to highlighted conservation organizations. We started doing full on fundraising events in 2014, the first year of hosting what has become our annual Rainforest Gala in Seattle (next one is June 9th, 2018!).
The biggest challenge right now I’d say is keeping the intimacy and power of our current small team of a long term volunteers and a few temporary staff for our bigger events. Meantime, we need expand our team in order to grow bigger and evolve our strategy to be sustainable over time. At times we feel very spread thin, and while that’s a pretty standard entrepreneurial experience its never easy. Pretty much every single time after we have a show, no matter how successful, it is a challenge to get everyone back on their feet again to do it all again.
And there is nothing that speaks louder than a simple, genuine “thank you,” other than maybe a box of organic chocolates and roses to go with it. At the end of the day our team feels like a family, and that’s what allows us to remain passionate, forgiving and respectful to each other in order to keep growing the movement.”
I saw you did a ted talk Nov last year. May you share with us your experience?
“The TEDX team in Seattle I had the honor of working with is lovely, particularly Bo Roth, Elizabeth Coppinger and Jacqueline Farmington – they are angels in disguise as public speaking coaches and writers.” Click here to find out my TEDX talk details.”
Is being in fashion industry something you have wanted to do since childhood? If not, what is your childhood dream?
“My dream was to save the world! 😀 Probably most of us have that dream in some capacity. I’m a little crushed of course that its a little too late to save the world, a large portion of all wild places and of all animals are lost forever. But if I can be part of saving just one wild piece of it, and further do it through such an exciting powerful medium such as fashion, then I’d say its a dream come true!
I know you spend a lot of time in jungles in between your projects. May you share with us how does exploring jungle become one of your hobby and how does that effects everything else you do in life?
“It’s culture shocking, actually. Both ways but surprisingly more so when coming back into society — it just puts everything into perspective in regards to how much we consume and therefore produce and waste. It’s horrifying actually. I always think to myself, “how could I have been apart of this? Can’t we see what we are doing to the planet?”
Then of course I have to remind myself its about actually helping provide access to alternative lifestyle opportunities! Not everyone has the privilege yet to start changing their lifestyles. The most inspiring people to be on the planet are the ones I’ve met who physically have nothing, and yet they feel like the happiest people alive. That’s contagious.
Its not just about Earth day, its about every day, its not just about goodwilling our clothing to charity and recycling its about consuming less and upcycling, but more than anything its not just about doing it yourself its about creating a whole community around it — rarely can we change one habit without the support from freinds and family let alone almost ALL of our habits. How can we support each other in living less destructively? Buying from brands that are dedicated to helping the planet is just one. Volunteering at or donating to a grassroots trusted conservation organization is a second. Building relationships with really badass friends who are willing to jump into a global mission with you is a third. We are here to offer all three opportunities!”
As our conversation got deeper and deeper, it also got darker and darker outside my house. We ended our conversation and shoot with a pretty silhouette image of two of us. However, the story between AVA and I didn’t end here, I have honorably accepted her offer to become an ambassador for Fashion for Conservation . FFC’s next big show, Seattle’s 4th Annual Rainforest Gala, will take place on June 9th 2018 in Seattle, Washington. I will be there and so should you!