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Sir David Attenborough on Rapanui

Sir David Attenborough on Rapanui: “A Most interesting and Valuable Project”.

Attenborough on Rapanui

There is perhaps only one person on earth who has earned universal respect and admiration: Sir David Attenborough. The man who has set the benchmark for wildlife film-making and documentaries also somehow seems to just, get it.

His latest project, the Frozen Planet, looks at the effects of climate change on the Polar Regions, will be aired this autumn. We were lucky enough to be offered some behind the scenes footage from Alison Jane Reid – a friend of Rapanui and a pioneer in ethical fashion journalism. Having worked with almost every major publication and a host of celebs, she’s been introducing her friends, such as Sir David, to Rapanui. There’s not much you can do to say thanks to that, so we did what we do best – send him a t-shirt. The message we got back, and his thoughts on Rapanui blew us away:

Attenborough letter

The soon to be aired Frozen Planet series explores the effects of climate change on the Polar Regions and the lengths that scientists are going to, to understand it. Some regions, like the Antarctic Peninsula, have warmed significantly in the years since Sir David first visited them. He explores what this means, not just for the animals and people of the Polar Regions, but for the whole planet.

It’s a subject close to Rapanui’s heart, and if you don’t know already, we’ve got a whole section dedicated to raising awareness.

Read more about Sustainability at Rapanui.


Rapanui Wingsuit Base Jump

Dan Witchalls, base jump world champion, has been throwing Rapanui t-shirts off cliffs … with himself inside them.

Check out this vid just in from his latest trip to Switzerland, about 10 days ago.

A good trip, 27 jumps on the wingsuit including one off of the mushroom. Also competed in the ‘world pro base’ wingsuit race competition- came 13th out of 25 which for my experience level on the wingsuit is pretty good – put it down the the eco karma I’ve been banking with you guys.

Hope you like the videos,



Wind Turbine Base Jump

Dan Witchalls and friends: Wind Turbine Base Jump

RapanuisĀ  Dan Witchalls: first he’s jumping off buildings in London, next minute we’re off to Switzerland to do some wingsuit base jumping and now this: Dan Witchalls and friends, eco base jump…

Makes us want to get up and jump off our desks.



World Responsible Economic Forum

The World Responsible Economic Forum, Lille, France, Nov 2011: A place where the world gathers to share ideas about sustainable economies.

This year Rapanui was invited to talk about their story by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leading voice for advocates of the circular economy, and alongside Vestas, the world’s top wind turbine manufacturer.

Ellen MacArthur set up her foundation to raise awareness and help accelerate the integration of Circular Economies amongst consumers, businesses and governments. Current economies are based on a “Take, Make and Dispose” model, or linear economy, where at each stage of the process there is waste. Current environmental thinking is based on reducing the impact of this model – of recycling some of this waste, or trying to encourage people to ‘use less’ – this doesn’t change the outcome it just buys us time. If the system doesn’t work, trying to optimise it is a waste. What if we just changed the system?

This is the focus of the work by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and they promote ideas based on a new economic model – the circular economy – where materials and resources in the economy perform a loop: Imagine that Waste is Food – and that products are designed to be easily taken apart and reformed into new products, and that this whole system is powered by renewable energy? This is a circular economy.

As the principle was provided by the EMF, the renewable energy was provided by Vestas, who make arguably the world’s best wind turbines, install them globally and who save us all 40 million tonnes of CO2(e) each year. We’ve had a bit of a struggle trying to get a wind turbine installed locally – Vestas showed us all that whilst that’s been going on, they have been developing a new turbine that’s taller than the London Gherkin and has a rotor diameter bigger than Wembley. It really hit home how important the race for green energy is and how easy it is to slip behind and let other countries benefit from a clean and secure energy future.

And then there was Rapanui. We were invited to try to put the ideas and system into a practical context and talk about how we’ve been putting Ellen MacArthur Foundations ideas into practise, designing a sustainable business model based on the circular economy, and putting some of the principles into practise, such as using Vestas turbines in our supply chain. Basically a case study of the type of new innovation-based companies which will need to be created to turn the market around by making business-as-usual obsolete.

We came home both proud to have been invited to such an event, a bit humbled to meet and be questioned by some household-name brands, businesses and people. It was a bit surreal at first but looking back it felt like a bit of a milestone. It’s clear that sustainability is a hot topic, it’s not going away and we’re stoked to be involved.

Here’s a little more on the Circular Economy for your viewing pleasure…


Business in the Community Award

Rapanui: Business in the Community Award 2011

This Friday we won the 2011 Business in the Community Award at the chamber of commerce do, here on the Isle of Wight. Last year we had a chat about caterpillars to Chris Packham, a hard act to follow, but this year he might have been pipped by Louis Attrill (Olympic Gold medal rowing hero) who came over later on and helped us get rid of a bottle of Drambuie that we’d aquired from the bar.

Having made it safely home we thought it a good time to mention some of our collaborators; young, talented and creative people on the Isle of Wight who have worked with Rapanui this year – the unsung heros of some of our projects behind the scenes.

A round of applause please for…

James Ioannou

You may have heard of of this guy if you know a bit about bikes – James is a bit of a legend in the dirt-jumping world and despite a few injury setbacks, has managed to gain a lot of recognition for his exploits. One standout feature was his “Red Bike, Blue Bike” video filmed in France for Rapanui. Since then, the flying affro has got stuck into photography, and turned out to be rather good at it. We got James invovled to shoot our Spring/Summer collection at the start of 2011 – solid results. He’s now gone on to finish his photography degree at uni. Backflip-Beanpole, we would wish you luck for your photography – but you don’t need it. #OneToWatch

Emma Harris

The Harris Hawk dropped by Rapanui in 2010 to interview the founders for her local collaborative project, I.Love.Wight – an online magazine profiling the Island’s young creatives. Em ended up staying on to do an internship in our marketing team, calling people up, writing stories and co-ordinating photoshoots. A highlight for her was breaking into the Isle of Wight festival, without a ticket, chatting to all the celebs and gaining entry to the festival director’s office, then posing for a photo with him. This is the 007 of the journalism world. Em has gone on to pursue a career in journalism, keep your eyes peeled.

Will Jackson

Action: Think of Quentin Tarantino meets Steve Coogan, and you’ve got Will Jackson – a most talented editor, director and cameraman. Will has been working with us this Autumn on a few behind-the-scenes projects including our Office Christmas Special. Will’s gone on to set up his own media company, Will Jackson Media and won a contract in the new year with… Rapanui Clothing Ltd. starting in January. Aaaaand cut.

Luke Davis

Last but not least, The Duke. Meet Luke Davis – previously one of the 1 Million unemployed young people in Britain signing on at the Jobcentre each week. Luke came in voluntarily to get some work experience, and made himself so usefulĀ  we couldn’t do without him. Fast forward one year and the Duke is now in charge of a team of 3 in the customer service department and he’s the man who hand writes a thankyou on to every single order we get at Rapanui. Luke is an example of going the extra mile – someone who has earned himself a job – and he’s here to stay.

So there we have it, our community heros. The saying goes “tell me who you’re with, and I’ll tell you who you are”

…well if this lot are anything to go by… that makes us a tall, affro’d female writer with a penchant for film making and outstanding customer care.

And that is clearly an Award-winning combo.

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