Is Lonesome George Slow Fashion’s New Mascot?

Will the plight of Lonesome George inspire you to be an Agent of Change?

The concept of slow food is worldwide and growing, but is the concept of slow fashion equally on the radars of today’s consumers?  There certainly seems to be a disconnect from ever growing fast fashion collections versus consumer sentiment for the environment and the harsh conditions for global garment workers. Perhaps this movement just needs a mascot. Slow food has the snail, and thanks to a mission driven apparel company based in the Galapagos Islands, now slow fashion has one too.

As the last surviving Pinta Tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, Lonesome George’s solitary plight is a cautionary tale of extinction unfolding as a result of human actions and mismanagement of scarce resources. Inspired by his story, company founder, Eduardo Balarezo, began Lonesome George & Co. to educate a new generation to try to prevent similar situations from happening at a time of dire and rising extinction rates.

Eduardo Balarezo with his company’s namesake.

“While many companies are choosing quick fixes to support social issues, we are focusing on the root of the problem and how we can prevent these issues from the ground up,” said Balarezo last week in San Francisco as he officially unveiled the Academy of Agents of Change, an experiential education built around Lonesome George & Co.’s proprietary Mind.Shift.Impact business model that invests 10% of every apparel sale and incorporates rigorous Outward Bound and Ashoka Youth Venture programs.

The Academy is specifically designed to turn Galapagos youth into social entrepreneurs by teaching them the hard-core skills necessary to have a meaningful social impact in their community. “We’ve found a unique way to create community impact that is sustainable, replicable and scalable and we encourage other companies to adopt our strategy.”

The tradition of developing countries utilizing the fashion industry to thrive is not new – In the history of the United States, firms producing ready‐made apparel, hats and shoes were responsible for the U.S. economy’s impressive growth starting as early as the 1800s – Balarezo’s hope is to create long-term sustainable impact as well. As speedy as the evolution of environmental change to his home in the fragile Galapogos may be, Lonesome George’s languid pace makes him the perfect mascot for a new spin on slow fashion.


Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.