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Fashion & Design industry leaders launch Coral Conservation
Jan '08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and leading fashion and home designers unveiled their commitment to coral conservation at the launch of Too Precious to Wear, a program of the ocean conservation organization SeaWeb.

The fashion and design world have long looked to corals and the ocean as a source of inspiration and imagination, yet these beautiful animals and their habitat are increasingly in danger.

Too Precious to Wear aims to raise awareness of corals and the threats to their survival, and show how the fashion and design industries, as well as consumers, can safeguard these imperiled marine species.

Despite their appearances, corals are neither rocks nor plants. Corals are living animals that provide marine species with food, fertile grounds for reproduction and a safe haven from predators.

Unfortunately, corals are in serious trouble due to destructive fishing methods, climate change, pollution and removal from the sea for use in jewelry and decorative home objects.

Too Precious to Wear fashion leaders include Sylvie Chantecaille, owner and founder of Chantecaille Beaute; ready-to-wear and bridal designer Lela Rose, Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai of Vena Cava and home and lifestyle designer Michael Aram.

"Corals inspire me and many others with their beauty, and coral reefs support the livelihoods of millions around the world,"said Julia Louis-Dreyfus, founding partner of Too Precious to Wear.

"These animals are integral to the health of the ocean, and it is up to each of us to make sure corals are protected. If we take good care of the ocean, the ocean will take care of us."

Dawn M. Martin, president of SeaWeb, said, "Corals simply are too precious to wear. They belong in the ocean, where they contribute to the survival of thousands of other marine species.

Consumers and the fashion industry can play an important role in the ocean's recovery by simply choosing products that do not harm the ocean. Conscientious jewelers like Tiffany & Co. have already removed precious corals from their product lines, and we urge others to take the same action."

Red and pink corals (commonly known as precious corals) are more often seen adorning the necks of beautiful women than in their natural ocean habitat.

Red corals have been fished for more than 5,000 years in the Pacific and the Mediterranean, but in just the past two decades they have shown serious signs of decline. The United States, as the world's largest documented consumer, has placed significant pressure on these threatened animals, importing more than 26 million pieces from 2001 to 2006.

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