Mother of Pearl is a luxury womenswear brand softly, but soundly incurring relevant and recognizable sustainable change in the fashion industry. The brand cultivates a new look for women that goes further than fashion by examining our ecological footprint and teaching us how we can do better.
Founded in 2002, sustainability is a word intrinsic to the principles Mother of Pearl carries at its core, believing that design doesn't have to be at the cost of ecological or ethical honesty – and vice versa. As a new brand in ILLUM, Mother of Pearl joins our community in a shared dedication to new definitions of what luxury means today. Led by Amy Powney – whose own growth in Mother of Pearl saw her begin her journey sweeping the cutting room floor, to taking the reins as Creative Director 13 years later. Powney has aligned the Mother of Pearl mission to educating its audience, and collaborating with the creative community on how fashion can reduce its environmental impact.
And if the brand name sound a little familar, it because Mother of Pearl is no stranger to the Copenhagen crowd. At Copenhagen Fashion Week in 2019, the brand launched its core sustainable collection No Frills as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s commencement of its Sustainability Action Plan. In celebration of Mother of Pearl’s arrival in ILLUM's women’s department, we caught up with Powney to talk about sustainable steps, shifting perspectives and what she admires most about Copenhagen.
For Mother of Pearl, the value of ethics are entwined with creativity: how do you ensure you treat each with the importance?
Sustainability doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on creativity or aesthetics, to me it’s about re-thinking and re-evaluating how you work. I can’t speak for other brands or designers, but I think if we all took a step back before creating new products, and asked ourselves a few key questions, that would help. For example: Is there anyway we can improve the design or functionality; are we using the best materials available to us; what will the customer do with the product at the end of its life; is there anyway we can offer or promote a service to help extend its life; how and where is this being made and are there any gaps in our supply chain we don’t know about. If we all asked more questions and reduced the amount we produce, I think it would have a positive effect for brands, consumers, and ultimately, the planet.
You have showcased in Copenhagen before with your No Frills collection. What do you admire most about the city?
I really admire the Scandinavian approach to life. It feels like there is real consideration when it comes to design longevity and lots of thoughts, care and attention go into every detail, which you can see across stores, cafés, offices as well as people’s homes. In terms of fashion, I'm inspired by the drive and determination of Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week. She has a bold approach to making fashion week more sustainable, and is giving brands the incentives they need to make more responsible business choices. I think this is the way forward, and hope other international fashion weeks will follow her lead.
There have been many shifts in the world this year, through a global pandemic, climate crises and civil rights unrest. What will you take away from 2020 in your visions for the future?
This is a fundamental time for the world, and it’s very strange to be living in a hazy motherly bubble. I am an avid fan of sending out positive communication to inspire change but sometimes the truth is: I don’t always understand humanity. Leaving issues to the higher powers in this world are often futile, so I believe the best chance of being the best people we can be, is to think before we do. Every penny you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. I think education and action are key to take away from this period. Not just sofa social media action but daily actions in our lives that all cumulate to make greater change.
You recently had a baby – congratulations! Has becoming a parent changed your perspectives?
Yes absolutely! I care more than ever for my loved ones and feel more passionate about family time. In this way, I am thinking smaller for life decisions but equally I am thinking bigger for climate change. I think we all need to approach our lives in a slower/ calmer and more local way. The positive impact this will have on the planet is huge. I’ve stand by the quote “no one can do everything but EVERYONE can do something”, and this feels more relevant today with my little one having entered the world, and my desire to preserve it for her and all innocent future generations.