There are two duelling images that come to mind when we talk about the Maldives. The first, of course, is an Indian Ocean paradise of white sands and clear waters – a synonym for some of the most unequivocally beautiful natural vistas that this planet has to offer. The other, however, is that image’s flip-side negative: a barometer for the worst of what rampant consumerism has done to that same planet.
Not only are both of these ideas entirely true, but they are also entirely inseparable. The slow disappearance of the Maldives, into that same glistening Ocean which makes it – for better and for worse – such a destination, is a direct result of human-led climate change.
As it sinks – or, more accurately, as the water swallows the land – so goes humanity and the planet as we know it.
Any way of stemming that tide, then, is a positive – not just for the Maldives and its people, but also for the Earth as a whole. And businesses like Patina – a Fari Islands resort committed not only to low-impact and low-to-no-plastic ways of working, but also to sharing sustainability knowledge with island residents – are a part of that. Albeit an imperfect one.
“Growing up in Southern California surfing, I’ve always had a strong love for our oceans. I feel a responsibility as a designer to incorporate a sustainable ethos into what we create, especially launching such a special project in the middle of the Indian Ocean.” – Chris Stamp
Having this year launched the inaugural Cosmopolitan Ocean festival to celebrate the heritage, legacy and possible future of the Fari Islands, Patina – looking to create and encourage dialogue between the Maldives and the world at-large – brought in outside help; a list of global cultural arbiters that included Stampd – the street-luxury brand founded by Chris Stamp.
Contributing across the culture spectrum, Stampd offered its perspective on visual art, music, and – of course – fashion to the event’s attendees. And, having found inspiration on the islands, Stamp himself also wanted to produce something lasting – something tangible. (As well as, presumably, something to connect that isolated and exclusive gathering with the outside world.)
All of which leads to the release of the Stampd x Patina Maldives capsule collection – putting imagery of the Fari Islands, on a mix of T-shirts, shorts, short-sleeved shirts and caps, ideally making these places and their people impossible to ignore.
Of course, there’d be no point in doing this, if there were no benefit – showing isn’t enough, and some might argue (not entirely incorrectly) that further production and consumption is the last thing these islands need. (You could reasonably argue, too, that another resort – even a lower-impact destination – falls into that same category. But, given that tourism is the Maldives’ leading industry and leading employer of local residents, it’s just not that simple.)
“This was the first collection where we lead with sustainability first, design second, something our team plans to continue on as we expand our Resort and Sport offering with the Patina Maldives.” – Chris Stamp
The collection, then, much like the Patina resort, points to transition – to a better way. The resortwear capsule – which includes Stampd staple garments, like the camp collar button-up – has been created with “recycled, sustainable and ethically sourced materials,” in order to create the lowest possible impact.
Not content with this, however, Stamp’s iPhone photography – which forms the basis for the capsule – has also been committed to the printed page: a limited-edition book, available on-island only, with all profits donated to the community of Gaafaru Island.
It isn’t a perfect solution, but rather one that aims to prove that ignorance is never really bliss; that paradise isn’t a right guaranteed in perpetuity – it’s earned and maintained or, inevitably, it’s lost.