Pharrell really is one cool dude. He's rich and successful enough not to have to give a damn - and yet he does. His latest bit of do-gooding is this Bee Line boot, created in collaboration with Timberland. Using photos taken by Pharrell and a "bionic" canvas (translation: the organic cotton blend contains 38% recycled PET to make it easier on the environment), the boots are designed to raise the profile of the bees - particularly since they're so vital to our own survival - 30% of everything we eat requires insect pollination, and the vast majority of it is done by honey bees - and yet, the cause of their plight is so devastating...and mysterious.
A committee of leading etymologists from the U.S.D.A. and major universities with major bee research released a report in 2014 and found there wasn't a single cause, but three, which may or may not work in combination:
- parasites The Varroa destructor is a mite which gloms onto bees and sucks out their blood, weakening them to the point that viruses, diseases, diarrhea or other pests can then finish off the colony. However, killing the Varroa without killing the bees is a daunting task for scientists. Because Varroa mutates at amazing speeds, treatments that used to work are now useless.
- honey bee nutrition The commercial crops now covering the land lack the pollen and nectar that bees need. Planting more wild flowers would help, of course, so an organization called Pheasants Forever is giving wildflower seeds to farmers. They then plant the seeds at the ends of fields or along streams, in otherwise unproductive or marginal land, and the resulting plants give bees the food they so desperately need.
- pesticides The jury is still out on the extent to which pesticides threaten the health of the bees. However, researchers are focusing on the whether it's the way that farmers protect newly-planted seeds, using neonicotinoids or neonices, is the problem.
The designs and the cause of the Timberlands x Bee Line are excellent. But the actual boot? Not so much. Instead, I wish wish they had a more wearable version, such as a TOMS style flat.
- Lesley Scott
NOTE: Honoring nature to help us pave the way forward fashionwise is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts & podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.