“Consume less and support businesses that have good intentions”
30th October 2020

Written by Harriet Davey

Welcome to The Sustainable Shopper. Each week, Stylist will talk to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This week, fashion editor Harriet Davey talks to Mother of Pearl founder Amy Powney about the latest collaboration collection with John Lewis & Partners.

High street collaborations with designers have gained kudos in the industry over the years. Collections have the ability to sell out as quickly as cult It items, and often gain a strong waiting list too. So, when John Lewis teamed up with sustainable label Mother of Pearl for a spring collection earlier this year, it was guaranteed to be a match made in sartorial heaven. Now, the eagerly anticipated winter drop has started to land at johnlewis.com. 

Stylist spoke to the founder and designer of Mother of Pearl, Amy Powney: a woman who’s made sure sustainability has been at the forefront of the brand’s collections since launching in 2002. 

AP: “At Mother of Pearl, sustainability is everything so it’s easy to have that clear focus but it hasn’t come without its challenges. Changing everyone’s mindset has been a tricky one. It’s one thing for me to learn and have a desire to change but then you have to in-still that passion into each and every decision maker at the brand. I always talk about sustainability as a mindset, and that mindset needs to be company wide including suppliers and the wider chain.

When I initially met with John Lewis I was very taken by their knowledge on sustainable fabrications and practices. I feel as though John Lewis has a real desire to make changes in the industry, which is why I chose to work with them.

The initial design process when creating a designer collaboration is very similar to designing my own ranges. It all begins with inspiration concepts and design direction but from there the process does differ. Our customers are different so I have to adapt to this when designing each collection. 

What would I pick from the collection? Well, I have my eye on the black pleat-front dress, which I’ll be wearing with socks and my lace-up black boots for winter. I also love the tan pleat back trench that I’ll wear over my jeans (still currently my maternity pairs) and a roll neck oversized jumper.

The word sustainable is the ‘usual’ word we use when discussing eco-friendly matters. It’s one that people connect with first, but in truth fashion full stop is not sustainable. Every garment has a footprint no matter what. Yes, some are better than others but the word ‘sustainable’ has now been used too freely. It’s hard to make its meaning tangible. We all have to dig a little deeper now.

Huge retailers need to take action rather than marketing by greenwashing. It makes it very confusing for the consumer to know who and what to trust. 

It would be great to have tighter certifications and legislation before the ability to market and my ultimate ask but governments are so far behind on climate issues. I watched David Attenborough’s witness statement and, whilst he doesn’t direct it at us, the solutions he suggests (and are true and needed) are for us to take and I think we all need to begin driving changes as well as pushing governments.

In order for us to evolve as a brand we have tightened our ranges more and more in order to be more efficient with fabrications and waste. We are also designing the ranges like never before, the woman is at the absolute forefront of our design development and fashion has taken a back burner. After everything I have learnt I move further and further into creating with the best practices but also pieces that fit into wardrobes with ease to wear and re-wear. For summer 2021 (hitting our online store in March) we have a capsule of four hero dresses that myself and my female lead team all love and want one of each.

A few simple changes you can make to be more sustainable is to change your energy supplier to one that uses renewable energy, eat less or no animal products, eat local produce, consume less and support businesses that have good intention when spending your money – your biggest vote is with your pound.”

The Sustainable Shopper shopping list: John Lewis and Partners x Mother of Pearl winter collection

  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl check cardigan

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl check cardigan

    The humble cardie has secured its place on the autumn/winter hot list once again. Get in on the action with this oversized check beauty with MOP signature pearl buttons. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl check cardigan at John Lewis, £99

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl floral print dress

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl floral midi dress

    A high neck midi dress is a staple you’ll love forever. Update a favourite by reaching for this moody floral style and you’ll never, ever, regret it. Obsessed with this print? It also comes in a top, too. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl floral print dress at John Lewis, £159

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trousers

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trousers

    The fail-safe black wide-leg trousers have been sprinkled with Mother of Pearl’s attention to detail and gained some statement buttons. You’ll end up styling these a million ways – from chunky knits to sleek shirts. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trousers at John Lewis, £99

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt dress

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt dress

    Monochrome has taken over the collection and we approve – this black and white grid print is featured throughout on shirt dresses, tiered hem frocks and blouses. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt dress at John Lewis, £139

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trench coat

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trench coat

    When it’s one of the designer’s favourite pieces from the edit you know it’s a winner. Everyone should, and can, wear the trench coat – not only does it work for autumn, winter, spring and summer, this beige shade will go with everything you own.

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl trench coat at John Lewis, £220

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl sweater

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl sweater

    Giving the sweater a designer feel, this puff sleeve beauty also comes in black and deciding which one you want will be a tricky decision to make. We’re imagining this rich berry version with luxe leather trousers and lace-up boots. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl sweater at John Lewis, £69

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  • John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt

    John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt

    Made from sustainable viscose fibres, this classic shirt will see you through work meetings, brunch plans and everything in between. 

    Shop John Lewis and Partners + Mother of Pearl shirt at John Lewis, £69

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All images: courtesy of John Lewis & Partners

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