Sunday, 28 May 2023

Fashion Reimagined: Why The Amy Powney Sustainability Documentary Will Challenge and Inspire You!

A couple of months ago I went to see the Fashion Reimagined documentary at the cinema. Final year uni deadlines have prevented me from sharing it sooner, but I wrote the following post as soon as I got home. I think Becky Hunter’s award-winning documentary is a must-see and here is why. 

Fashion Reimagined follows Amy Powney (CEO and designer at sustainable luxury fashion brand Mother of Pearl) on her journey to trace the origins of her first ‘No Frills’ collection, in order to craft clothes which are traceable, socially responsible, organic, with a reduced water/chemical usage and small carbon footprint. 

It is an inspiring story which will leave you feeling hopeful, but also challenged.

The water required to make a pair of jeans is equivalent to the quantity of water a single person needs to drink in two years, the chemicals sprayed on cotton can be fatal to workers and the processes used to make jeans look ‘worn’ and ‘vintage’ can cause serious health problems, such as cancer. These are some of the facts that lingered in my head after I had left the cinema. Even though I had heard many of them before, they still feel shocking and challenging to hear. I instantly thought back to a pair of new but faded jeans I had brought a year ago. Well worn, yes, but those facts applied to something I own! Two years of drinking water - I t’s so important to be reminded and not become numb to the impact of these facts between leaving the cinema, or putting the book down, and reaching the checkout.

But these shocking facts were perfectly balanced with the hopefulness that Amy’s passion in her project brings to the documentary. She makes you feel that, if you can make the difference yourself, no matter how insignificant it might feel - it would be completely worthwhile.  As Amy explores the supply chain she persistently questions and challenges each stage. Where is it from? What happens to the chemicals you use? Because all of it matters to Amy and a green sticker saying ‘sustainable’ doesn’t count for much without genuine traceability. 

In an industry where sustainability is now a marketing buzz world, and it is hard to tell who genuinely cares, Amy stands out as sincere and authentic. Even the most cynical person couldn’t fail to see how deeply she cares. The turning point for Amy as a fashion student was the book ‘No Logo’ by Naomi Klein (incidentally, for me it was ‘To Die For’ by Naomi Klein); Klein’s books are highly recommended reading.

Amy says sustainability isn’t just an expensive piece of clothing but a mindset - which I love. We can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with fashion’s problems; we all have a part to play. This is something which is reinforced through MOP’s social media 2020 #fashionthefuture campaign, where people are encouraged to pledge an area that they will work on with their own fashion habits, from ‘OAP’ (old-age-purchase, second hand and the like) to ‘Rent’ and ‘Feminist’.

Amy talks about how tracing the journey of the fabric makes her feel more emotionally connected to the fabric, something which is true for the viewer also.  Suddenly the coat is not just a coat but several, if not hundreds of people’s stories - woven together. And that can be a beautiful story of people who care about their craftsmanship and the planet, caring for their animals in a kind way, using chemicals which don’t give people illnesses…or it can be a really sad story - we have a choice of which story we are part of. 

If only we could see past the product to the people who make them - something which this film does wonderfully, introducing us to people who are choosing to do things differently all over the world, connected by a collection of clothes with a beauty which goes deeper that just their design. 

You can find Fashion Reimagined on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig