Central Saint Martins help Save the China Tiger

Tigers are the most enigmatic of creatures. Existing in most people’s perception in an Indian subcontinent jungle book, there was a documentary on tv recently that found tigers living at high altitudes in the Himalayas. This may be just me, but I was equally surprised to find out that tigers also inhabit parts of Southern China. In fact the South China Tiger is considered to be the most ancient of the tiger species, and critically estimates say there are maybe only 20 of these tigers remaining in the wild.

So that just goes to show that the new campaign organised by Central Saint Martins and the international charity, ‘Save China’s Tigers’ has worked on one person at least.

With the aim of raising awareness of the plight of the ancient South China Tiger, through protection, preservation and public education, the implementation of advanced conservation models in China, and fundraising, ‘Save China’s Tigers’ has worked with Laohu Valley Reserve, in South Africa. There are now six second generation South China Tigers born in Laohu Valley, who have gained hunting and survival abilities, waiting for their return to China’s wild.

All of this is great inspiration for the Central Saint Martins BA (Hons) Fashion print pathway students who were asked to design tiger T-shirts to raise awareness of the campaign. Three winning designs were selected by judges including Ann Smith (Dean of the School of Fashion and Textiles at CSM), Wakako Kishimoto of Eley Kishimoto, Yang Du. (Selected for New Generation windows in Selfridges), Raphael le Masne De Chermont (Executive Director of Shanghai Tang) and Li Quan (Founding Director of Save China’s Tigers).

“The objective of this joint project is to bring fashion to tiger conservation in order to raise awareness among the fashion conscious public about the plight of the South China Tiger, and to enlarge the section of the society interested in wildlife conservation”, said Ms Quan. “I wanted to combine these two beautiful aspects together. I am….thrilled to see all the beautiful designs by the enthusiastic, creative students of Central Saint Martins. They have demonstrated a perfect union of fashion and wildlife.”

The three winners are: James Buck, Jolene Chun-Ling Fung and Morgan Levy.

“I was interested in drawing the tiger, with an element of nature, almost camouflaged by flowers. But it also represents the fragility of the tiger as it faces the real possibility of extinction,” says James Buck of the extensive efforts that went into producing his designs.

“My inspiration was that we have to save China’s tigers just as we have to protect our children. That is why I draw an unprotected tiger in a childish way, sad and in danger. This baby tiger has to be protected just like human children! I did all my drawing in black and white so children could fill the drawing by coloring with felted pencil.” said Morgan Levy.

“I was inspired by Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese paper cutting. As this competition is aiming to raise awareness of the plight of the Chinese tiger, those symbolic Chinese elements instantly came to my mind. I started it by drawing the English words with Chinese calligraphy method and then I drew the tigers and all the details afterwards with the help of the research on paper cutting. They sort of convert into my own style after all. The red heart sharp is showing our love for the tigers and I think it is quite eyes catching. A combination of hand drawing and digital editing appear a lot in my works as I always appreciate hand craft but also think that we should make a good use of modern technology in a sensible way,” said Jolene Fung.

Congratulation to all involved!

The winning designs will be available soon at www.savechinastigers.org where you can also find out more about the South China Tiger.

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