An endangered endemic creature is now the mascot for a fashion line.
In the heart of the Sibillini Mountains, Central Italy, lies Pontius Pilate's lake. This isolated lake, located at 1940 metres, was created when the glaciers retreated leaving behind glacial cirques. In these strangely limpid waters, the miniscule Chirocefalo Marchesoni (Chirocephalus marchesonii) lives. It is a small crustacean the colour of coral. This creature is found nowhere else in the entire world. It is utterly endemic and has been protected by the mountains forming a circular wall around the diminishing 'lake'.
The Chirocefalo - pronounced Kirofalo - is one of a kind and has become a symbol of uniqueness and biodiversity in mountains.
It is also the inspiration for KIRO, a unisex shirt, designed to turn into a backpack and marketed as being, as unique as the creature in the lake of Pontius Pilate.
Similar to the Chirocefalo, the KIRO company, based in the foothills of the mountains, feel small compared to the global market. True to the spirit of mountain people, KIRO is also particularly resourceful and flexible.
Once removed the garment can be turned into a backpack in 20 seconds. It is waterproof, windproof and designed to be stylish enough to make a statement in urban fashion, while also being ideal in mountains. The pull-out rain hood is particularly appealing, made out of a attractive new fibre/fabric that is as light and transparent as a spider's web.
Dramatic changes of weather and temperature are the signatures of climate change the world over, and this product allows one to adapt rapidly. When it gets too hot you can take it off and instead of carrying it - you can carry things inside it. The backpack holds 30 litres.
(Kiro shirt in red, 2017)
Likewise the rare Chirocefalo is facing an adaption period. High temperatures mean the 'lake' is more of a pond today, and it almost dries up during the summer. The creature is also stressed by increased visitation. Some visitors drop rubbish in the water or ignore signs and get into the water. Chemicals from humans like sunblock, or heated plastic, create pollution in the small body of water. The Monti Sibillini National Park is doing all it can to protect this beautiful environment. http://www.sibillini.net
Will the endangered Chirocefalo be able to face the future with as much versatility as those wearing the jacket named after it?
The KIRO project is in prototype phase yet customers can already buy the garment as it is almost on the market. Once the business is off the ground, KIRO intend to assist in the conservation work at Lago di Pilato, so that nature and humans can benefit side by side.
(Kiro shirt in yellow, 2017)
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook