Fashion Month: meet ethical visionary Mother of Pearl
2018 marked a year of reckoning for the fashion industry, as the issue of sustainability rose higher on everyone’s agenda. Today, we see designers make commitment part of their aesthetic, and a fashion industry that is now evolving to consciously reflect the world we live in. This London Fashion Week was the second where catwalks and designer showrooms were completely fur free, a policy YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP has championed since the start, alongside many of our brand partners including British brand Mother of Pearl. For Creative Director, Amy Powney, sustainability is not a new development, but the founding principle driving the luxury womenswear brand forward.
Last Saturday, Amy in collaboration with BBC Earth, and the British Fashion Council, curated a series of talks at London Fashion Week, that brought together industry visionaries and leaders to discuss positive change in the fashion industry under the hashtag #SustainableMe. Next up for the brand will be a collaboration with NET-A-PORTER, with the pair set to launch an exclusive collection of sustainable clothing this June.
In the midst of her Fashion Month whirlwind, we sit down with Amy Powney, to discuss her sustainable beliefs and the inspiration behind Mother of Pearl.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into sustainable fashion and why it is so important for you?
When I was at university I read a book called ‘No logo’ by Naomi Kline which was more about the social issues in the industry but it really sparked my desire to delve further and understand the issues in the industry. I also grew up ‘off grid’ for a while, so I had a different relationship with amenities and I was able to respect the simple things and not take them for granted. I’m also an ‘over thinker’ so I guess it’s in my nature to look into things with a lot of research.
What is the most striking thing you have learnt since researching and exploring the topic of sustainability and fashion?
For us, its many instances, reworking our supply chain meant we made savings and could sell our brand for lower prices, so we launched a line called ‘No frills’ to offer this product.
What advice would you give to brand looking to become more sustainable?
Re-think. Sustainability is a mind-set and once you adopt it your entire brand will change naturally.
So many small things can be done to make improvements and it’s not simply the product it’s the whole ethos of how you run your business.
We launched our first circular show this season, the brief was everything must be hired in and given back – even the carpentry we made bespoke is going on to another home. We also launched vegetarian lunches in the office, packaging free from local suppliers, and the simplest thing is to switch to green energy! Vivienne Westwood started the ‘fashion switch to green campaign’ join it! Then of course, the supply chain, start asking questions, get on Google,
learn about how raw materials are made and what we can do better and then ask your suppliers.
‘No Frills’, your core collection at Mother of Pearl launched last year, offering sustainable wardrobe staples. Tell us about the inspiration behind this collection?
No Frills was designed around the idea of simple product, the same quality of product as a branded competitor but without the marketing and packaging. I love this concept that you are paying for what you truly are buying not the marketing.
No Frills is a playful adoption of this supermarket produce packaging idea, making great product, no lies, just transparency!
You have been partnered with YOOX NET-A-PORTER for several years now, how has this helped you spread your brand DNA to a wide audience?
NET-A-PORTER has a global audience and it offers our brand a display window to the world which is a powerful gift for an emerging brand like ours and we are truly honoured that we have a partnership.