How The Creative Director Of Mother Of Pearl Is Making Fashion Sustainable
September 18, 2018 | BY Justine Lee
It’s no secret that fashion is one of the biggest polluting industries in the world. But then there are designers like Amy Powney, who make sustainable fashion modern, approachable and most importantly, chic
What sets Mother of Pearl apart from other sustainable fashion brands?
Amy Powney (AP) I think the main thing is that we have looked into all aspects of sustainability. We have tried to create a product that is organic, natural, socially and environmentally responsible, respectful to animals and which has a low carbon footprint.
Our new website allows you to filter all of our garments by our sustainable attributes to show transparency, so you can shop garments that tick every box, as well as garments that are on their journey to becoming better with just one or two attributes.
In your research for sustainable fabric and practices, is there a statistic that you found the most shocking?
AP The biggest shock statistic was that around 270,000 cotton pickers have committed suicide in the last 10 years. This is why organic and socially responsible cotton farming is so important, and why it's one of our attributes.
There is also a statistic that, typically, a garment will travel to an average of five countries before it reaches the hands of a consumer—some up to ten—making the carbon footprint rather large. There’s also an obscene amount of packaging that goes into each garment. I think the biggest issues are the amount of clothing getting burnt or thrown away after a few wears. Waste is an issue that consumers really need to be mindful of.
What are some of the biggest pollutants in the fashion industry?
AP There are quite a few; toxic dyes are a big issue for water supplies, microparticles in synthetic fibres being washed into the oceans, synthetic fibres breaking down in landfill and releasing toxins, as well as transportation between multiple production stages.
What are some ways we can help on a consumer level?
AP The best thing about sustainability is that it's accessible to all. It’s not only about buying sustainable brands; it’s about how much you consume and how you dispose of your clothing. Easy things everyone can do are buy quality not quantity, buy natural fibres, buy organic cotton, buy vintage, buy less, and whatever you do buy, once you have finished with it, pass it or sell it. Circularity is important.
Sustainability doesn't just affect fashion. Being mindful of living sustainably can help a great deal— quitting single-use plastics, eating less meat and changing your energy supplier to a green, renewable energy company are three simple things everyone can do that will make a huge difference to the planet.
Over the years, you’ve created a very green work environment—no plastic bottles, vegetarian group lunches and utilising eco-energy, what are some easy ways to make a work place more sustainable?AP Change your energy supplier to a renewable one, install a water filter system into your tap so staff can drink clean water and ban plastic bottles from the office. Recycling is important but over 70% of recycling doesn’t get recycled, so it's better to try and create the least amount of waste possible.
We have a lunch scheme in the office where a local company delivers organic food from local farms and we cook at the office so everyone gets to enjoy eating vegetarian lunches together. There are small things everyone can do, which is the beauty of sustainability. Collectively, we can all make a difference.
(Related: Dawn Koh Takes On Hong Kong In Louis Vuitton)
Lastly, can you tell us about the latest collection, No Frills, from Mother of Pearl?
AP No Frills is a collection of sustainably sourced and produced wardrobe staples that are fully organic, socially responsible and that has created minimum impact on the planet. We don’t compromise on style or design, either.
I’ve been a part of Mother of Pearl for two years, and I’ve spent this time tracing our supply chains all the way back to the fields, meeting organic cotton pickers in Turkey, sheep farmers in Uruguay, and fully vetting every stage of the process from field to finish.
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com.
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