For sea turtles—a 110-million-year-old animal of which nearly all species are classified as endangered—to reproduce, they must mate undersea before the female climbs onto land to deposit her eggs into nests tucked beneath dry beach soil. These eggs (an average of 100 at one time) incubate for nearly 60-80 days until baby turtles known as hatchlings emerge from underground and crawl their way to shore. The natural obstacle course—several feet from the water—is worsened not only by predators such as foxes and birds of prey but even more so by human interaction, with beach erosion, artificial light, and plastic garbage leading to many hatchlings’ demise. In fact, only 40 percent of the baby turtles make it to sea at all, and one in a thousand actually survives.
For Turkish fashion brand Mavi, which started making denim in 1991 after producing jeans for the likes of Gant and True Religion, this is an issue close to home. Nearly an hour or so flight from its factory in Istanbul’s western district of Çerkezköy, the coast of Belek in the Antalya province is home to the highest number of nests of Caretta Caretta (loggerhead) and Chelonia Mydas (green) sea turtles. It has also become a major tourist destination in recent years thanks to its turquoise, Turkish Mediterranean waters and Cancun-style five-star resort hotels.
In fact, Antalya is the center of Turkey’s tourism industry, attracting 30 percent of foreigners coming to the country. In 2011, its capital city was the world’s third most visited city, displacing New York. All of this passage, of course, has generated an enormous amount of threat to the area’s native turtles, which play an important role in the ecosystem. Not only do sea turtles help maintain healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs, which provide key habit for other marine life, their eggs affect the vegetation, species distribution, and stability of sandy shorelines.
For the past six years, Mavi, whose name itself means “blue” in Turkish, has supported the Ecological Research Society (EKAD) with the Indigo Project. Through programming such as sponsoring protected beaches and supporting volunteer groups that monitor nesting cycles and aid in the hatching “crawl” to water, the two groups have increased the number of nests on Belek beaches from 500 in 1999 to 2,500 last year. They’ve even designed a collaborative line of “Indigo Turtles” tees with each piece’s purchase price going towards the adoption of five sea turtles. (An expansion of the Mavi x EKAD pieces is set to launch stateside later this fall.) Ecology, in fact, has long been important to the denim-turned-full-on-apparel-maker. From the use of recycled fibers of waste and used materials to sustainable fabric mills for its eco-friendly developed denim, Mavi has managed to create product while somehow protecting the world in which it lives in.END
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createdAt:Tue, 06 Aug 2019 16:07:10 +0000