Online sales of sustainable fashion collaborations using only biodegradable fabric will be possible. John Lewis and Mother of Pearl, a fashion brand, have chosen Earth Day to launch their sustainable fashion collaboration. This is primarily because of its geopolitical symbolism.
Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary on April 22nd. It seemed a fitting day to launch a collection that brings ethical design standards to mass-market fashion. It is a launch date that honors the planet and not the artificial seasons of fashion. This also ties in with the idea of wardrobe-lasting, timeless clothes.
This date, which was set six months ago and comes with a different meaning, is a decision that was made. John Lewis & Partners has been closed in the midst of unprecedented consumer demand and a shutdown that has left all 50 John Lewis department store closing. John Lewis & Partners + Mother of Pearl will be available online only.
Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl designer, admits that it is strange to sell clothes at this time. “When you take everything down to its simplest, it forces you to question what you really need. It has made everything more sacred by spending time at home. Every purchase, every walk and every conversation with family and friends are sacred.”
As a prominent date on the fashion calendar, Earth Day is gaining in importance. Allbirds, a sustainable sneaker brand, marked Earth Day 2019 by donating proceeds of the sale of limited edition shoes for the protection of birds threatened by climate change. This year, they are the first brand to label its products with a carbon footprint count, similar to the calorie information printed on processed foods. The brand’s bestselling Wool Runners have a carbon “price tag”, of 7.2kg. A pair of jeans weighs in at 29.6kg and a shopping bag is 1.6kg.
Powney believes that consumers should be offered a better alternative to fast fashion. Lockdown is a way for consumers to change their direction. “Fashion is not a priority right now. However, the fact that the world’s carbon emissions are starting to fall as the world slows down is a sign that collectively we can make better choices to heal our planet.”
This collection features breezy polka dots dresses, striped shirting, and an elegant trouser suit in caramel with outsize pearl buttons. It is Powney’s chance to share her mission for ethical, sustainable fashion to a wider audience.
She says, “I appreciate John Lewis’s refusal to sell fashion-driven, trend-driven collections.” Prices start at PS59. She adds that some prices on high streets are so low that it doesn’t take much to understand supply chains and work out who has been hurt in their making.
All pieces are made in Tencel or organic cotton and are therefore ethically certified. Tencel wood-pulp fibers are derived sustainably from sustainable sources. They are processed by Lenzing into fibre using a closed-loop process that minimizes water and energy consumption. Virtual sampling allows garments to be tested on virtual avatars, without the need for any cutting. This reduces waste and minimizes the carbon footprint of transport.
Jo Bennett, head of purchasing for John Lewis, says that “We fully understand that today is very different from the day we started this collection.” “But, we still look for some escapism and moments of joy.”
The original plan to launch the brand with a pop up buy-back program at John Lewis’ London flagship was canceled by store closures. However, Bennett claims that online sales of coloured and pattern tops have outperformed the trend. These tops are perfect for smart video conferences and can be used to help people rediscover their treasured pieces. Powney admits that she has lost her sense of style as she juggles caring for her daughter Niamh, three months, and the pressure of running a small fashion company. Her home-based wardrobe is “a complete disaster… leggings, and my husband’s T shirts, mostly.”