Selfridges’ Project Ocean

What if….Walmart, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue or your local department store took the issue of seafood sustainability seriously?

Hard to imagine?

Urge your store manager to book a flight to London between May 11 and June 12 to visit Selfridges, the swank London department store. It is giving its entire space over to Project Ocean, a partnership led by Selfridges Creative Director Alannah Weston and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Project Ocean involves Marine campaigners, 22 NGOs and activists from the worlds of Art, Fashion, Culinary Arts, and Entertainment, who are joining forces to actively change public opinion and behavior. “From frogmen marching its hallowed aisles, to massive commissioned balloon installations by New York artist Jason Hackenwerth, to ‘No More Fish In The Sea?’ T-shirts by famed activist fashion designer Katharine Hamnett, there will be non-stop buzz to help convey the most pressing messages over the duration of Project Ocean. ”

What’s in store?

Project Ocean will take over the store on a scale never before seen at Selfridges. From its iconic windows, façade and atrium, to The Wonder Room, foodhall and restaurants, the London store will transform itself in homage to the ocean. For five weeks, Selfridges’ Ultralounge will be the epicentre for Project Ocean activity, including world-class talks on the most pressing issues related to our oceans. There will be film screenings, NGO workshops, and Guerrilla Science for families. On Friday evenings, the Ultralounge will emerge as the Dive Bar, hosting musical acts and performances as a means to raising awareness and showcasing up and coming talent.

Project Ocean will culminate with the GLOBE World Ocean’s Day summit on 8 June, the United Nations-recognised global day of observance in celebration of our oceans and the vital impact it has on our lives. Held for the first time in a non-traditional, public location, GLOBE 2011 will welcome heads of state, ambassadors, dignitaries and MPs alongside NGOs and activist organisations to examine, workshop and revise The Common Fisheries Policy amongst others.

Selfridges has put its money where it counts: it has sponsored the creation of a marine reserve in the Philippines on a unique double barrier reef, creating a safe haven for endangered fish. It has created a fish guide for customers, both in booklet form and in an app, available free.

If Selfridges can do this, so can your local store. “The project is designed to be visionary and solutions oriented but it unreservedly highlights the often-disturbing realities that threaten global marine life.” Campaigns of this kind need clear, strong vision – everywhere.

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