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Fashion inspired by Hawai‘i’s endangered species

UH alumna’s resort sport collection featured at Bloomingdale’s One-Day Event

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Jennifer Bright

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa alumna Jennifer Bright poses with one of her clothing designs at Bloomingdale’s. 

 

An alumna from the fashion program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa was featured in Bloomingdale’s Kama‘aina One-Day Event where she showcased her resort sport collection on July 20 at Ala Moana Center.

Jennifer Bright’s limited-edition collection is inspired by Hawai‘i’s critically endangered snails. The colors and designs of a snail’s shell were incorporated into Bright’s garment prints.

“I want to help them and the goal is to have profits go back towards saving the species,” Bright said.

Each garment in Bright’s collection is linked to a species, and profits from those certain designs will go toward saving them. 

“Over 750 species of terrestrial snails were once described from the Hawaiian Islands, representing one of the most stunning examples of species radiations in the world,” according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources website. “Sadly it is estimated that over 90% of this diversity has been lost.”

One percent of the profits from her resort sport collection will go to the Snail Extinction Prevention Program through the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

This is what Bright’s company, Wear On Earth - Hawaii, calls “philanthropic fashion,” where all aspects of her company will be based on recovering, supporting and nurturing the local environment and its inhabitants.

Bright envisioned this when she wanted to make an impact. This was when she came to Hawai‘i after 10 years of traveling and discovered fashion. 

“When I came to Hawai‘i, I wanted to do something more important than just me and there are so many critical issues in the world right now,” she said. “I wanted to bring attention to that and try to have a solution.”

She discovered that fashion was one of the largest polluters, from greenhouse gases to discarded clothes in landfills to microfibers entering the ocean.

“There’s a long list of negative things that fashion has done for humanity and the Earth and I thought that was a good starting point for me,” Bright said. “Here’s the place where I can make a difference, so I want to be the interface between science and art or fashion.”

Bright entered the fashion design and merchandising program at UH Mānoa with this idea of making a difference. Her passion for science and her discovery of the fashion industry brought Bright to develop her company Wear on Earth, which is working toward the goal of becoming fully sustainable. For Bright, being sustainable means using products manufactured and sold in Hawai‘i, including the process of growing materials and turning them into fibers to create clothing. 

“Once you go sustainable, you can’t go back,” Bright said. “It’s not just a movement. It’s go green, go sustainable, or go home.”