A (supply) CHAIN REACTION
By Amy Powney
It’s not often that things come to a halt, quite like they have. Whilst things have most definitely not slowed down for me personally - having just had my first baby and trying to work through keeping my brand and team going during these testing times - this unplanned time at home has given us all an opportunity for positive reflection to who and what are the things that we hold closest. One thought that keeps me going as a designer is the well-being of our community and the people in our supply chain. As a brand committed to people and planet, when you buy something from Mother of Pearl, we are also supporting cotton farmers, weavers and even keeping our sheep happy. For they are a part of our unique community. And now more than ever we realise the importance of community. First and foremost, I send all my thoughts to those in difficult situations, and not to mention the people of the world that experience viruses on a regular basis that rarely makes the media and the incredibly selfless workers at the NHS right now. Perhaps this standstill is a wakeup call for us all and an opportunity for us to take stock of the things we take for granted. Which is why I wanted to use this time to share why I am optimistic that we will all come out of this with a hopeful future, and much cleaner hands! As some of you may already know, for a part of my life I grew up off-grid in Northern England. When I was around 11 years old, my parents decided to live the good life, they had an idea to take our small plot of land and see if they could renovate the barn into a house. I think growing up off-grid and close to nature made me more connected to the bigger picture of the planet and the environment. It was built into me to question where everything originates from, not to mention that we spent more time without technology than with, so we also had an innate sense of our surroundings. It made me more inquisitive and more connected to questioning rather than just accepting things.
I’ve always kept this same mindset; from when I was a design student making my first sustainable capsule collection at University, or when I worked my way up from Design Assistant to Creative Director at Mother of Pearl. When I won The Vogue Fashion Fund in 2014, I decided to use the grant money to turn the design process on its head. We started not with design but with geography to make our first fully sustainable collection, No Frills. A garment can travel to 5 countries before it reaches you, sometimes even 10. Me and my (small but mighty!) team spent a year researching countries and regions producing organic raw materials that could be turned into a finished product in a relatively local geographical location in order to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. We then headed out, travelling across the supply chain and meeting the people producing the clothes throughout the process, who adhered to the best practices, using the minimal amount of chemicals and respected their workers and animals.
Of course the journey had its trials and tribulations! My passion has and will always be rooted in best practices to create a more sustained world, the way I see it, is what could be a more important conversation right now than the future of our entire home and all that live on it? We all have that in common and never before have we all needed to stand together. It’s always been about the supply chain for me - but now in this new world, it’s equally about the chain reaction. We also wouldn’t be here without you Pearly Queens! Your support is that chain reaction that inspires me to keep pushing through every challenge I face and overcome as a designer and a new mother. Life has always been what happens when you’re busy making other plans. During these hard times, we know fashion is not the top of our priority lists, however supporting the supply chain is. So, as much as I think I’d like to be - we all won’t be in these tracksuit bottoms for much longer. When the day this all passes comes (not that days means anything at this point) I will keep doing what I love most - creating beautiful fashion that won’t cost the earth, the people, and animals who call it home. Love Amy x