Anyone who has gotten to know me well enough will know that foxes are among my very favorite animals on the planet; I love a lot of nature's wonders but there is just something special about foxes that have always drawn me to them. Some children grow up with a special teddy bear or doll, but I of course had a bit of a unique choice in childhood plushies... my friends were a fox and leopard! Foxes in particular have always had a deep personal connection; early memories living in Finland and having a teacher tell me I had "the eyes of a fox", to my experience growing up in Japan and getting approached by the fox dancer in a parade as well as having a guardian fox shrine in my backyard, and delighting in every fox spotting I have had all over the globe (including a hilarious fox friend who rolled cans down the street in my time in Dublin, as well as a playful fox kit who followed me around while on a cemetery tour in London.) I even have some ink dedicated to these marvelous creatures! Needless to say, it was an absolute delight when I was surprised with a visit to the JAB Canid Education and Conservation Center!
At the center, or JABCECC for short, they are incredibly dedicated to this wonderful family of creatures. Research and education about the canid family are a big focus for them, and during my time there it was such a treat to learn more about my favorite animal. While their famous fox ambassadors are from the domestication project in Siberia (made famous by National Geographic) they also have American fur farm rescue foxes that have joined their family. By providing the public with the rare opportunity to see these creatures adorably up close, they hope to change public misconceptions and myths about the often misunderstood creatures. In a day and age where fur farms are still a thing (and, to my recent horror, still actively advertised as an eco friendly option by high fashion houses) providing this real world experience is incredibly important. You simply cannot look into the smiling face of a fox, and think they deserve the sort of life so many of them are still subject to.Foxes belong as inspiration to fashion, not a part of it!
I was treated to this visit while still working on creating Taru, and had already had the idea of wanting to create a design that I would "donate" as a part of an annual "Taru tradition" to come. I believe in the power of the universe and serendipity, so when I found the only fox education center in the U.S. was practically in my backyard, I knew they were a cause I wanted to support. That is why I created the "FANTASTIC MRS. FOX" leggings, from which 100% of profits get donated to JABCECC. I look forward to creating another donated design next year, stay tuned on social media to help me make that choice in 2019 :)
A childhood dream come true! Taru founder Saija very up close and personal with fox ambassador Viktor.
JABCECC founders Amy & Dave Bassett are also dedicated to the preservation of the extremely rare New Guinean Singing Dogs, or "singers". A distant relative of the dingo, there are only a few hundred of these cuties in the world today!