With an army of stylists and designers at her fingertips, getting dressed should come easy for the former Kate Middleton. However in recent years, we’ve come to watch – encouragingly – as the royal has honed a small collection of labels that she continually rewears and favours. This week, the Duchess of Cambridge again looked to British label Eponine for her visit to the west end’s production of Evan Hansen. Led by creative director Jet Shenkman, the label continually references the polished glamour of the 50s and 60s to deliver collections that are tailored, while still modern. And it’s not just favoured by the royals; inspired by a checked boucle shift dress worn by Catherine in 2016, Carrie Symonds also chose the Kensington-based brand in 2019 when she visited the Queen at her Balmoral estate. Rented from MWHQ, Carrie stamped her own style on a blue and white tweed dress by styling it with knee-high flat boots for a Sixties twist.
In a retail first, from today customers can rent fashion from MY WARDROBE HQ in store at Liberty’s iconic Great Marlborough street store.
Customers can browse a selection of womenswear RTW and accessories on the 1st floor between 11th February – 31st March, with designers including Coach, The Vampire’s Wife, Lulu Guinness, Gucci, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Rixo, Franks London and so many more. From weddings and races to galas and garden parties; our specially curated edit of event wear exclusively available at Liberty will see you through every occasion across the year. Partnering with Liberty London on this project, MY WARDROBE HQ founder and CEO Sacha Newall explains, “Liberty London has so much heritage, there really is no other department store like it. We’re all about experiencing newness in a modern way and Liberty is all about heritage, while embracing the new; it’s a revolutionary new way of consuming fashion and I can’t think of a better brand to partner with.”
Here, Liberty London’s Chief Marketing Officer, Madeline Macey reveals why Liberty has partnered with MY WARDROBE HQ and how she sees rental and retail co-existing…
Why did you choose to partner with MWHQ? As a retailer that has always championed discovery, we are excited to be working with MY WARDROBE HQ who are disrupting the way customers are shopping in a sustainable way which we know our customers will respond to.
Who is the Liberty woman and why do you think she will embrace MWHQ and fashion rental as a concept? Ours is an artistic shopper, they don’t answer to trends but their own self-expression. They have also been actively informing us of their desire to shop fashion and accessories in a more sustainable way so I’m excited to see how they respond. Our vintage offer, which we have had for 14 years, has grown 66% up YoY which is a direct example of how our customers shop outside of the norm.
How do you see rental and retail co-existing? At Liberty, we have always embraced quality craftsmanship and design over fast-fashion, and so are delighted to offer our customers a new way to enjoy the Liberty edit. We stock designers and pieces we believe will last longer than a season in someone’s wardrobe, but also appreciate sometimes you have the need for a one off special moment, or particular time in your life like a holiday or a Honeymoon that requires some designer supplements! Shopping consciously is the way forward.
Which designers do you think are excelling/embracing sustainable fashion? BITE Studio are a new brand we are bringing on board who have some great tailoring I will be wearing this season, while Paloma Wool is a big winner with our customers already.
What inspired the Liberty collection featured in our edit? The Liberty RTW collection has only just launched to much fanfare. It’s a beautifully detailed collection created here in our London studio inspired by prints from the archive and each piece is timeless.
Which pieces from the Liberty collection would work well for renting and how would you style them with existing wardrobe pieces? Our classic Hera peacock print has been re-imagined in gold, brown and black which is how Liberty do Leopard print! I will be wearing the shirts and dresses across different looks.
Visit MY WARDROBE HQ on the 1st floor at Liberty London between 11th February – 31st March 2020.
Having grown up with a grandfather working as a producer on films during the golden age, the notion of old glamour is one that my eye is inherently drawn to; the world of the beau monde – starlets, big gowns, jewels and a red lip gave me my first insight into the transformative power of clothing and its ability to capture a persona. From Marlene Dietrich – the first woman to wear a tux (at the time, she could have gone to jail for it) and whom went onto influence YSL’s ‘Le Smoking’ collection to the liberation defined by Bardot and her fellow French muses; these women embodied strength and empowerment ahead of their eras.
As we live in times of visual over saturation and stimulation, as the speed and turnover of fashion has become so excessive that designers and luxury houses need to keep looking elsewhere for content, the last few seasons have seen a return to seminal film references: Virginie Viard’s debut RTW collection for Chanel SS20 took influence from French New Wave cinema; Christopher Kane segued sexual symbolism through Pre-AW’19 via Marilyn Monroe, whilst Molly Goddard became a global name through the screen dressing Killing Eve’s psychopath assassin, Villanelle.
As 2020’s award season begins, it continues to highlight not only the powerful gaze of the red carpet but the symbiosis between fashion and film glamour. With this in mind, I referenced seminal screen moments and borrowed pieces from MY WARDROBE HQ to show how they could work, whatever your generation.
She’s gone from studio assistant to helming the sustainable label that’s on everyone’s lips; we meet Mother of Pearl’s Amy Powney – the fashion designer who’s on a mission to change the way women shop.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I can’t think of a more important conversation right now than climate change, the future of all our homes, the quality of our lives and all that inhabit it. Not many people know, but the fashion and textile industry is one of the top contributors to climate change – this is why it’s such an important topic and a conversation that we all need to collectively feed into to make positive change together.
How do you educate yourself on the sustainable changes you need to make – as a person and as a brand?
Sustainability is a mindset, once you’ve started questioning things and opening your eyes, it will naturally infiltrate into every single thing you do. Research is key, finding solutions that give you what is needed with the least possible impact on people and the planet. My team and I simply started with Google; it takes time to research, but it is possible to find solutions and implement better practices. Mother of Pearl embraces sustainability from a holistic point of view: from restructuring the supply chain in accordance to fully ethical practices to creating a plastic bottle-free studio and low-waste working environment in our London HQ. Sustainability shouldn’t mean missing out. I see it as an opportunity to look into ways of doing things differently. On a personal level, I’m trying to reduce my air travel, so last summer I took the train to Avignon in the South of France; I definitely didn’t feel deprived, in fact the opposite, it was one of my favorite holidays with great friends. I’m also trying to buy second hand and rent as much as possible for my baby, where I do have to buy I am trying to make sure it’s the things needed for a long time or sustainable pieces I can keep or pass onto a friend.
Winning the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in 2017 allowed you to launch your No Frills collection – what was the most important thing that you learned from this?
Through exploring our supply chain and looking into how we can re-develop the way we create at Mother of Pearl, we actually ended up making savings (which surprised us all!) and found we could sell classic pieces for lower prices, this is how “No Frills” was born; a fully sustainable line of core classics for everyday wear. Everything we have learnt, and continue to learn, infiltrates all of our processes throughout the Mother of Pearl collections.
What do you want the Mother of Pearl legacy to be?
Sustainability is the backbone of everything we do at Mother of Pearl and every piece we make has sustainability in mind. Our aim with all the work we have been doing is to not only offer a product, but to start a movement. My next mission is to use social media to empower and educate about the impact of fashion on the planet and how we can work together to make a change – stay tuned!
What kind of Mother of Pearl pieces can customers now rent or buy from MY WADRROBE HQ?
We curated a mix of our sustainably produced eveningwear collections – pieces that you can really paint the town green in! We love them paired with a chunky earring and a statement heel!
And if you could choose a favourite piece?
Our beautiful green Emmie dress which was worn by actress, producer and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the Cannes Film awards in 2018.
What sustainable hack should we be adopting for the New Year?
I always stand by some basic tips to live more sustainably; change your energy supplier to a green one, shop less but buy better quality (or try renting!), swap meat for vegetarian for as many days per week as you can, support local farm to home businesses for your food and buy a re-useable water bottle and coffee cup. These things are easy to do and make a huge difference, some of them cost a little more and others a little less so it evens out.
Who should we be following on Instagram?
@gretathunberg for a reminder that no one is too small to make a difference
Last podcast you listened to or Netflix boxset you watched and why we need to be tuned in…
One Strange Rock is the most incredible eye-opening documentary I’ve seen in years. Narrated by Will Smith, this series shares the perspectives of our planet through the voices of eight astronauts.
Who inspires you and why…
Jameela Jamil because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind and the way she has used social media to create an incredible community with @Iweigh.
How are you spending the festive season?
As I’m 8 months pregnant, I will be firmly putting my feet up in my London home and not travelling. I will be eating my way through delicious food, hanging out with my husband and having a quiet one. I will of course be working on my new social media project launching next year but from the comfort of my sofa probably with hypnobirthing audio in the background!
“Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.”
Fast fashion…a term you’ve heard a lot recently and one that isn’t going away anytime soon. The British fashion industry has woken up to the damaging impact of mass consumption – more so recently after the Misguided £1 bikini hit headlines and the shift to shopping sustainably.
Beyond the environmental impact that’s caused by discarded or unwanted articles of clothing, the process of producing enough clothing to keep up with demand is equally damaging. Clothing brands are promoting over-consumption and increasing their carbon footprint without implementing the proper processes to reduce their environmental impact. In a generation where we prefer online shopping to the in-store experience, brands are feeling the pressure to drop 100’s of new-in pieces every week to meet consumer demands. I’m certainly guilty of shopping because of the variety of clothing/very cheap prices and I’ll admit, sometimes I’ve worn these items once or even not at all.
Something that is often asked is why some brands’ pricing is increasing while so many others are decreasing to stay competitive. A lot of this is down to the process in which items are made. Brands that listen to consumers on sustainability and wage equality have to increase costs to cover this. Take RIXO for example; a British brand I love because of its amazing fabrics and prints. These are sourced by hand in the countries they originate and where fair prices are paid directly to the seller. The garments then go through the manufacturing stage where people are paid a competitive and fair wage. Many other brands are looking to other sustainable initiatives such as packaging; Kitri source compostable bags – excellent!
It’s all great stuff. But is it enough?
As a consumer there are lots of things that we can do to help promote sustainability in the fashion industry, while supporting independent and emerging brands.
When you’re shopping do you think about how green the brand is? How your purchase might affect global warming?
The tips below have been accumulated from research into this topic and are things I now adopt:
Quality is really important when purchasing a new item. Of the pieces already in your wardrobe, ask yourself – how many times have I worn this item before it’s shrunk, stretched, or fallen apart? Sadly this happens all too often because good quality isn’t found in cut-price products. Each purchase should be an investment so that over a long period of time, the cost per wear is fantastic and not a flop.
As I get older I am learning what I will and won’t wear time and time again. However, the pressures of social media dictate that we ‘need’ new outfits. My advice is to invest in a staple wardrobe; good pieces you can bring out every year and team up with some on-trend pieces so that you are not overhauling your wardrobe each season. It’s costly and wasteful and just not necessary.
Learning how to up-cycle clothes allows you to showcase your style and keep up with the latest trends without hurting the planet. YouTube is full of amazing ‘how-to’ videos, bringing out your old, hardly worn pieces and giving them a serious makeover. As well as being good for the environment, this is also lighter on your purse. Do you have a frayed pair of jeans? Cut them into shorts… it’s that simple!
I absolutely LOVE the idea of swapping clothes or selling/buying second hand. It’s a really good way to be sustainable and is an easy way to give your wardrobe a refresh!
It was first introduced to us (well me anyway) on SATC and now clothing rental is a revolution taking over the fashion industry. As The London Chatter said recently: “It’s never been more fashionable to give a damn! They say the most Sustainable Fashion you can wear is what’s already in your wardrobe… and I think the future of fashion is wearing what’s in each other’s.”
I am particularly excited to be working with MY WARDROBE HQ – a social shopping platform where you can buy, sell and rent designer items – and share the experience of renting with you. It’s the perfect opportunity to wear gorgeous pieces by amazing designers, calling an end to single use purchases.
“The environmental impacts of fashion should not stop us from the liberation that fashion has given to women – it should only make us change how we consume it. There is no need to buy a dress, when we can rent one.” – Emily Brougton, Saving the Grace
MY WARDROBE HQ is super easy to use and hosts a mega catalogue of brands and members’ wardrobes you can rent from such as Poppy and Chloe Delevingne, Caroline Flemming and Olivia Buckingham. All you have to do to start is register your interest through their homepage and follow these next steps:
Log in with your invitation code, register your details and then start browsing designer items available from members’ wardrobes and brand profiles
Determine the perfect rental period and price to suit you both. You can rent from 1 day to 1 year – a unique rental experience available only on MWHQ
Honestly, I can’t think of anything better. I already share a lot of my items with friends and vice versa, but after being lucky enough to see the many, many rails of goodies that MWHQ has to offer, I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of being able to rent the perfect piece for future occasions.
Sustainable fashion has come a long way since its brown hemp heyday, and while Stella McCartney is synonymous with encouraging the UK’s conscious consumption of fashion, a host of new designers are appearing on our streets in a bid to stand with her.
When London-based fashion designer Alice Early launched her brand in 2018, she had one mission in mind – to create clothes that feel and look great but have a minimal impact on the environment. Using organic materials such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton and Corozo buttons (derived from the Tagua Palm), items are seasonless and produced locally in London, while packaging is recycled and shipped using carbon-neutral vans.
With a utilitarian feel, pieces are cut with clean lines and in bold colourways, and can be worn myriad ways to reflect the modern woman’s world.
It was only in June 2018 that I was a self-confessed fast fashion addict; buying clothes with each new season and always knowing about the latest Zara drop. Yet one month later, I radically transformed my shopping habits and instead turned to a more sustainable wardrobe.
There’s a new addition to my sustainable wardrobe – clothing rental – and it’s here to stay as a regular for any event.
Despite being a sustainable living advocate, I like most other young women, want something ‘new’ to wear to a party. The social pressure and self-expectation to wear something ‘unphotographed’ for each event is solved sustainably by renting a dress instead of going out and buying one. As Livia Firth, founder of Eco-age would say, unless it will get 30 wears, don’t buy it!
As someone who hates online shopping (in my opinion it removes the experience of feeling the clothes and trying them on), the Dressing Room service has all of this… and the style advice. It’s as if you’re shopping with a friend in the comfort of your own home. I was sold! You can see my excitement here.
Written by Emily Broughton, Founder of Saving the Grace – a sustainable living platform focusing on 5 areas of change: lifestyle, food, fashion, wellness and action in the world, to save our world’s waters through empowerment and education.
Did you know that as a nation, we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. Goes some way to explain why the fashion industry was worth £32 billion to the UK economy in 2017. The rise in ‘fast fashion’ – a term coined due to the speed in which designs move from the catwalk and onto the high street, often at low cost – not only encourages over consumption but generates excessive waste that the planet is struggling to keep up with. Social media only acerbates this, with recent research from The Hubbub Foundation suggesting that 17% of young people questioned said they wouldn’t wear an outfit again if it had been on Instagram. Following the requisite selfie and #yolo caption, the item is then either returned, or worse, thrown into landfill.
But the tides are changing. As more consumers look for experiences over material things, the rental economy has welcomed retail into the fore, in a sexier, cooler way, offering consumers a new way of shopping high-end luxury fashion, with a greatly reduced carbon footprint. Why choose a mass-produced number from the high street (and in turn buy Mr Zara a new super-yacht at the same time), when you can borrow a runway knockout from Stella McCartney at a fraction of the price, guilt free.
Why are we telling you this? Because MY WARDROBE HQ is championing the circular economy movement by teaming up with peers and brands to offer an unrivalled selection of past and current season pieces at a fraction of the cost of full RRP. We’re hugely passionate about promoting sustainable fashion – we’re not saying give up buying for good, but we want to encourage the message of ‘buy less, buy better’. Better quality items have more stringent policies and processes in place which means less pollutants into nearby rivers, less carbon emissions due to the handmade process these items go through, and a better quality of life for the garment makers. What’s more, by renting out your items, you’ll also line your own pocket which in turn, we hope, will encourage you to turn your back on the high street and fast fashion and instead make a long term commitment to slow fashion.
If you want to lessen your fashion footprint, register here and join MWHQ in our rental revolution!