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Fashion and feathers collide

Last modified: 14 February 2014

Piers Atkinson

Milliner to the stars, Piers Atkinson's fabulous creation

A number of big names from the British fashion industry have come together to help save nature by putting their unique stamp on a nestbox.

It's not often the worlds of style and wildlife collide, but with London Fashion Week and National Nestbox Week both starting on 14 February, the RSPB and the British Fashion Council decided to join forces. 

The nature charity asked a host of celebrity designers to put their stamp on a plain, white nestbox all in the name of giving nature a (more stylish) home, and the results are amazing.

Designers like Dame Vivienne Westwood, Jasper Conran OBE, Julien Macdonald OBE, Katherine Hamnett CBE and John Rocha CBE are among those who have designed a nestbox, and the standard wood designs have been replaced with bold prints, floral patterns and even leather and studs!

The bespoke nestboxes will be displayed in The Shop at Somerset House throughout London Fashion Week (14-18 February) and Vodafone London Fashion Weekend (20-23 February), and will be sold in an eBay auction to raise money for the RSPB. All funds raised will go towards the RSPB's conservation work and be spent on projects like restoring wild places, research into species declines and community engagement.

''These designer creations are a bit more chic than the usual plain, wooden nestboxes...'

British fashion designer Giles Deacon, well-known for his playful designs, said: 'I love to make time to support good causes, and the UK's wildlife is a cause that really needs our help. It's fabulous that so many designers have got behind this idea - it's a really great way to get us all thinking about how we can make a home for nature on our back doorstep. It's fun and makes the world a better, more beautiful place - just like fashion!' 

Julien Macdonald OBE, one of Britain's leading fashion designers, said: 'When I was asked to create a nestbox for the RSPB it didn't take me long to say 'yes' - nowadays there is a real appetite in the fashion industry to think green. Protecting the environment and the wildlife it provides a home for is something I feel passionately about. I am so glad other designers have joined together to send this important message to the fashion world and beyond.' 

Jasper Conran OBE, an authority on British style and tailoring, said: 'I have thoroughly enjoyed creating a bird palace to support the RSPB in their work to conserve the natural environment. I love birds and I love hearing them tweet.' 

Nature has not only inspired, but featured in many of Piers Atkinson's fabulous creations. He commented: 'I was delighted to be asked to take part in this project. It is a great opportunity to remind us all that we need nature in our lives, and nature needs a home, just like we do.'

British fashion and textile icon, Zandra Rhodes CBE, said: 'Nature is amazing, I have often taken inspiration from our rich wildlife for my designs. It nurtures us all, and we need to nurture nature in return. It's wonderful that so many designers are taking part in this project - to celebrate our wildlife, and encourage everyone to give nature a home where they can.'

The little birdies at HemingwayDesign say: 'Save our mid-century tower blocks. We like flying high.' 

Alison Enticknap, from the RSPB, said: 'Wildlife and fashion might not be an immediately obvious combination but when the designers heard our idea they were really keen to use their creative flair to help make a difference. We can all do our bit to help by giving nature a home in our gardens or outside space, whether it's by digging a pond, planting nectar-rich flowers or creating a log pile. 

'These designer creations are a bit more chic than the usual plain, wooden nestboxes - I'm not sure garden birds would know what to make of them!'

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, commented: 'It's wonderful to see such big designer names get behind the conservation of British nature. Fashion is becoming increasingly more environmentally-aware and any project that drives this awareness is something we fully support. We look forward to unveiling the results at The Shop at London Fashion Week.'

All the nestboxes will be auctioned on eBay. The auction will start at midday on Friday 14 February and end at just before midday on Monday 24 February.

How you can help

Eleven top names from the British fashion industry have put their unique stamp on a plain, unloved nestbox, all in the name of giving nature a (more stylish) home. The results are as diverse and amazing as nature!

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