Friday, 23 August 2019

Catch of the day

Catch of the day

GUESTS at the Henley Festival are renowned for their sharp fashion sense but this year there was one dress that really caught the eye.

This blue dress is made from a salvaged fishing net found off the Cornish coast. It was designed by eco-designer Linda Thomas, from Bristol, to raise awareness about pollution in the oceans.

It was worn every night at the Henley Festival by models Lynne Lambourne, from Peppard Common, Laura Poole, from Nettlebed and Ellie Perryer and Daniela Mantica-Filippini, both from Henley. They gave up their time for free to stand on a plinth by the festival’s entrance and answered questions from members of the public.

Environmental campaigner Julia Carey, 40, of Reading Road, Henley, approached Linda after she saw the design online last year. She said: “I discovered this beautiful dress on Instagram. Her main aim in life is really to remind people not to pollute the Earth. She’s so strict about it.”

Julia says the dress attracted a lot of attention. “Most people stop to talk about it,” she said. “Although we did have one woman who disagreed and thought this was not the place to be showing this sort of thing.

“But we can’t just carry on ignoring it. If we can all just do our bit it will help. Being at the Henley Festival just shows how important this is now. It’s not just a hippie idea any more. It’s important for people of all walks of life to be thinking about this now. I was so thrilled that the Henley Festival said yes to this. I know they are really keen to become green now.”

The Henley Theatre Services, supplied the plinth and the women’s hair was styled by Nicole Hewitt, who runs Chi Salon in Reading Road, who used only eco-friendly products in keeping with the theme.

Miss Lambourne, 44, wore the dress on Friday from 6pm to 8.30pm. She said: “Julia asked me and I just said yes straight away. I love the whole concept of it. When a net breaks, the fishermen just throw it over the side of the boat. All these animals are affected by these floating nets in the ocean and we are trying to highlight that.

“It’s a really wonderful piece of art. I was a little bit frightened — it’s quite skimpy. You have got to have some guts to wear it. It’s quite exposed, but it looked amazing. I just love the ocean. People can’t see what we are doing to it. We are absolutely treating it as a giant wheelie bin.

“It hasn’t always been topical but in the last year the issue has really grown. I have always been upcycling and saving things from the bin. It’s always been a really big part of my life. The more we talk about this, the more pressure there will be on the government to put legislation in place.”

Linda was inspired to make the dress by the two-minute beach clean movement, which encourages people to remove litter whenever they go the beach. She chose to make one from a fishing net because they often sink to the bottom of the ocean and then float back up again when animals caught inside decompose.

These include sharks, whales, dolphins, and turtles. She said 640,000 tonnes of fish netting was lost at sea every year, which killed about 100,000 marine animals.

It’s the fourth dress Linda has made from ocean waste. The first was made from polystyrene surf boards. The second comprised 99 helium balloons and the third was made from material used in menstrual pads washed ashore following a cargo spill.

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