12 in 12 for 12
What was the inspiration behind your idea for 12 in 12 for 12?
As a veterinary student, I naturally have a predilection towards animals, but my call to action to help endangered species didn’t hit home until the loss of one extremely special once-wild baby elephant by the name of Khun Chai occurred. I decided that it was—and had been—time for humans to take responsibility for their actions and to be a little bit more thoughtful of what we are doing to the environment, which ultimately not only affects our animals but will also harm ourselves, too.
I decided that it was—and had been—time for humans to take responsibility for their actions.
In an effort to garner support for these animals and their ecosystems, I thought of a fun way that we could get one of the most powerful demographics—women!—to come on board with me and dig their heels into this effort. And that fun way would be done through fashion. Thus, “12 in 12 for 12” was born! How I determined to wear only one garment for an entire month, goodness knows, but I think it stemmed from my desire to show people how sustainable one can be.
Not to be gross or provide “too much information,” but often I don’t even wash my waist-length hair for at least eight days in order to save water. If I don’t offend others, I just keep it in a braid until it gets to be too greasy. Thinking about the little things may actually be bigger than one may think.
INTO THE WILD
How did you choose the designers for each animal outfit?
I invited well-known designers that either had a strong environmental interest or were exclusively eco-fashion-focused designers. Every single one of them is mad about animals, which was the first important credential. Also, I didn’t tell the designers which outfit each was to make, as I really wanted them to choose an animal that they could connect with.
I provided each designer with the list of 12 animals and allowed them to choose the one that touched their heart.
I provided each designer with the list of 12 animals and allowed them to choose the one that touched their heart the greatest, and in most circumstances, the designers all got their first choice. Each designer I have worked with has been a complete delight, making this process smooth and enjoyable. In fact, several of the designers have even become friends.
What will you do with the animal outfits once the project is over?
My [nonprofit] foundation, The Gabby Wild Foundation, plans to host what is being considered the “greenest fashion show to date” at the conclusion, where we will be auctioning off the dresses. Catering to 1,200 people at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, it’ll feature a series of musical performances, including world-renown flautist James Galway, an auction of luxury good items, and a fashion show featuring the work of the designers involved in “12 in 12 for 12”.
What has it been like with only 12 outfits for the entire year?
It has been crazy, wonderful, sticky (in the spring), freezing (in the winter), breathless, beautiful, and empowering. I have loved representing these animals thus far, and I know that the home stretch of the last seven animals will be even better. All people should know that you can achieve all that you desire if you put your mind to it and place your irrational hesitations aside.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We can use donations to the animals very badly, as they cannot be saved unless the scientists go out into the field, veterinary hospital, and laboratory to complete their work. One-hundred percent of all proceeds are given to the animals, and donations to the Gabby Wild Foundation are tax-exemptible.