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.
Re-wearing outfits on the red carpet is nothing new; A-listers often opt for vintage creations from designers such as Valentino or Ralph Lauren to stand out amongst the crowd. While Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is lauded for her ‘thrifty’ choice to re-wear. But as sustainable fashion becomes a movement more than a buzzword, brands have been quick to challenge the status quo and adopt wearing past season’s fashion as the norm.
None more so than BAFTA, who for this year’s awards is “working towards having a net positive impact on the environment,” and politely issued a sustainable dress code to its attendees. Working with the London College of Fashion, UAL’s Centre For Sustainable Fashion (CSF) – which looks at three intersecting areas: research, education and knowledge exchange with industry – they have created a guideline to dressing so guests such as Olivia Coleman, Margot Robbie and Jennifer Aniston – who wore vintage Dior to the SAGS – can dare to re-wear by choosing either an item previously worn, an item from a sustainable fashion designer such as Stella McCartney, or a rented item – enter MY WARDROBE HQ.
Our collection of 3000+ items includes pre-loved pieces from individual’s wardrobes as well as items from emerging and established designers including Mother of Pearl, Amanda Wakeley and Bora Aksu provides consumers with a virtual dressing up box full of items to play with. It’s not only kinder to the planet but lighter on the pocket too..
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!
How do you find your glow? It might be a run in the park on a crisp winter day, the perfect blow out at your regular salon, a sushi feast on a Saturday night, or simply sitting by the fire on a cosy Sunday with a packet of biscuits and a huge pot of tea. In MyEcoGlow, we challenge some of our regular customers to spend a day mindful of the eco impact that all of their decisions and actions make on this world. Will they still get their glow on? Or will conscious living be a burden in their already busy lives?
Mika Simmons is an award winning British Filmmaker and Actress, founder of the Lady Garden Foundation and creator of The Happy Vagina podcast. Her life varies vastly from day-to-day from being constantly on the go with daily castings, press appointments and recordings to spending intense periods of time alone, writing. She rents from MY WARDROBE HQ for red carpet events and when she doesn’t have time to think about what to wear. Here we challenge her to get her glow by spending the day living in a more eco conscious way…
8.30am My weeks are very intense so Saturday’s are usually sacred. I try not to make too many plans and just let my day unfold in an organic way, allowing myself to wake naturally. I’m then most likely to head to my local Gails, before heading to the Gym or a class with a friend. But today is different – I have a film premiering at the BFI London Film Festival, Us Among the Stones, plus – I’ve committed to finding MyEcoGlow with MY WARDROBE HQ. To be completely honest, I’d been a tiny bit skeptical that I could improve my footprint, as I’d like to think I’m already quite a conscious human, but, straight off the bat, as I push open the door at Gails I realise – I don’t have a refillable cup. Full disclosure, I don’t even own a refillable cup! There’s only one thing for it, I’m going to have to go old school, pause and take my coffee in a clay cup. At first I’m annoyed to be forced to slow down, but then I remember the challenge is for my own good, so I stop, try to let go and watch the world go by. A woman comes in, in a bit of a flap, because a car almost knocked her off her bike. I ask her if she’s OK and if I can get her some water. She’s fine, just stuck somewhere between shocked and angry. I tell her “I love a Boris Bike” and she laughs and says “That isn’t a real bike!” She picks up her tea and thanks me for checking on her, saying it’s really helped her calm down. I feel like a totally different person after this small amount of human connection …. Although I suspect the oat milk flat white might have helped too! 10.00am Instead of our usual Gym class I’ve convinced my friend to go for a run outdoors. We meet by the Albert Memorial on the South Kensington side of Hyde Park and, rather than driving my eco friendly Fiat 500, I go one step further and walk there. Starting to feel a bit chuffed with myself now. We run to the top of the Serpentine and back. Honestly, I can walk faster than I can run – but I’m still parched by the time we get there. I top up my glass water bottle from Lululemon which I love and have been using consistently for the past year, 11.30am After running into South Kensington Club for a quick, post run, ice bath I pop into MY WARDROBE HQ, whose studio is just round the corner. I have the premiere tonight and I also need to borrow a dress for a shoot on Tuesday. It can sometimes feel like a huge pressure to find outfits for work events, but MY WARDROBE HQ has totally changed the landscape on that. I spend a fun couple of hours trying on beautiful frocks and the team leave me feeling uber confident about what lies ahead! I go for a slightly sassy, but understated Christoper Kane for the red carpet and a show stopping Vivienne Westwood Anglomania piece for the shoot. Both in red! It’s a colour I can wear and there’s been a lot of it around these past few seasons. 2pm I eat lunch at home, using as many local ingredients as I can. This is something I’m really passionate about – when you can, buy local! Imagine if the only thing being flown around the world was humans, not food! I can’t resist a bit of quinoa but I make it with local vegetables. I always put some olive oil in the pan and heat it gently, then add the dry quinoa and blanche it with some salt and pepper, before adding the water and bringing it to the boil. It makes the already creamy quinoa off the richter scale yummy. Tomatoes, grilled with some balsamic, are a favourite to add in and make it super sweet. 4pm Next on the agenda is a manicure at home to get me red carpet ready with LeSalon, a small business I love to support as they really empower their therapists by giving them phenomenal training and paying them above industry standard. Doesn’t matter which way I look at this, there is no eco version of nail varnish remover and colour polish so I decide to get a natural manicures – no chemicals, just a good clean manicure to strengthen and improve my nails. The girl does an amazing job and actually tells me that where she is from they often use milk to soak the clients hands. She pushes my cuticles back using a wooden stick and explains it’s healthier not to remove them as they work as a barrier for infection. Finally she uses a buffing block that makes them shine as well as any polish – buffing also boosts circulation to the nail bed giving slow to grow and weak nails (mine!) a shot of fresh oxygenated blood they need to get stronger and grow faster. 6pm I take a Gett Green Taxi into the Empire on Haymarket for the premiere and contemplate my eco aware day and how it has changed my weekend. I definitely feel virtuous, and content, that I have trod lightly on the world today. Being conscious, has made me slow down and think more about what I do and if there is a way that I can do it better. I notice I’ve got way more energy than I would usually at this stage of the day (ideally I’m at home in my pyjamas on a Saturday night) and I’m super excited for the evening ahead ….. I’ve clearly found MyEcoGlow and I intend to keep it a while longer. Follow Mika on Instagram and Twitter @missmikasimmons
“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.
If you hadn’t heard already, clothing rental is in. And there is good reason…
Clothing rental is a revolution in how we use our clothes – it could call an end to those disposal clothing purchases brought solely for a single event, where a photo on Instagram means that the dress never sees the light of day again. Clothing rental is a solution. It’s time to rent a dress, or two.
The modern woman is empowered through fashion. Fashion creates our identity; an expression of who we are, and who we project ourselves to be. With each event and party, brings an opportunity to show the world who we are as women.
Temptation of Fast Fashion
With this has come an endless choice of pieces, paraded to us in shop windows, discounts galore, the tempting walk down a high street, or purely in the comfort of our home, it’s hard not to spend money on fashion when we see influencers, and celebrities wearing the latest designer pieces that we only hope will look half as good on our bodies.
Yet the endless shopping is taking a strain on our bank accounts (the dreaded fear of looking at one’s balance after a shopping spree online the night before… is an experience that is far too common for women like myself). British women have 60% more clothing and keeping them for half as long as 15 years ago; wardrobes filled with both fast, and/or designer fashion.
Fashion’s Impact on Women & the Planet
And while fashion is a source of freedom for many women, the creative expression of their clothes is an oppressor for the women making the clothes. Fashion Revolution has brought light to this through the campaign #whomademyclothes and is asking consumers to ask these questions.
There are also bigger environmental problems as a result of fashion. Water the source of all life for the world is being put under pressure for the constant demand for cotton and other materials. Stacey Dooley’s documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’, and its exposé on the Aral Sea that has lost over 80% of its water proved just have threatening the fast fashion industry can be.
Fashion & Water
The fashion industry is the third most polluting industry of water on the planet after oil and paper, communities are left to use toxic water contaminated by the chemicals that make our clothes which is causing serious diseases and cancers in much of the developing world.
But 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.
Sharing Economy & Clothing Rental
Thankfully the sharing economy is coming to centre stage of fashion as we slow down our actions. Fashion rental is the equivalent of shopping online (with far cheaper prices) and you can ‘own’ the item(s) from 7 to 365 days. Each service works slightly differently, however MY WARDROBE HQ (who recently teamed up with fellow rental platform Wear the Walk) holds the stock and offers a concierge styling service to help you choose the perfect dress for any occasion.
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!