Niomi Smart: Stacey Dooley Changed My Mind About Sustainable Fashion

'I still absolutely adore the London Fashion Week, but this year my fashion week calendar looks a little bit different.'

Niomi Smart

by Grazia |

'I love fashion and I always have but in recent years, as a blogger I’ve developed an awareness of sustainability, so while I still absolutely adore the London Fashion Week, this year my fashion week calendar looks a little bit different.

'My usual strategy is to pick my favourite brands to attend their shows or presentations, it’s still the same now, but I’ve become a little bit more mindful of the ones I’m attending. Sustainable fashion used to be something that didn't even cross my mind, I got interested through friends who were casually starting to talk about it, which inspired me to start looking into it myself.

'The real turning point was when I was invited to speak to Stacey Dooley on her documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets I took part because I was just so fascinated by the whole world of sustainability and it triggered something me to start making a difference. I was already doing my research by then, but speaking to Stacey was the lightbulb moment that opened my eyes even more and since then I’ve really committed.

'But back to Fashion Week – what’s on show if you’re passionate about supporting the sustainable brands? The main one I’m really excited about is the Mother of Pearl show (which is on the 18th of February, 17.30-19.30), they do some really brilliant things. They’re transparent and they trace their whole supply chain and they have a gorgeous line called No Frills. A couple of years when you said the words "ethical fashion" everyone heard: hemp, linen beige, but now that couldn't be further from the truth. Mother of Pearl have beautiful collections, I think that’s so important.

'Brands can’t rely on sustainability to draw the customers in – they have to create beautiful designs and compete with the main designers. Another brilliant designer to be aware of if you’re going to fashion week is Richard Malone. He uses recycled plastic and he works with a lot of communities in India, so from that perspective it’s an ethical brand as well. I’m really excited for his show (18th February, 9.00).

'Of course, I’d still love to see some of the bigger brands at Fashion Week get on board with the sustainability movement and make changes, but It’ll take longer for some of the big designers at the show because they’ve been around for so long, it won't happen overnight. But small changes are being made to move in the right direction which is great to see, for example Burberry are now committing to becoming more sustainable.

'From an influencer perspective, it would also be great to see bloggers attending more sustainable events at LFW, that’s not to say that I’m absolutely perfect – I think you need to have that passion for it first and understand why sustainibility is so important. But I think it would be exciting to start the conversation and to see influencers getting enthusiastic towards the sustainable fashion option.

'Does making more sustainable fashion choices take more effort? I think it’s all about becoming more mindful – that’s obviously more effort, but it’s exactly the same with your health and wellbeing; to be healthy you need to be mindful, and that's exactly how you should think about sustainability. I think now more than ever we need to be more aware and conscious. It does take a little more effort, but it’s worth it and I definitely believe that anyone can do it.

'You don’t have to religiously splash out on luxury ethical fashion items to make steps to having a more sustainable wardrobe either. On the high street there are so many more brands that are moving in the right direction. One great example is Marks and Spencer: their sustainable commitment is called Plan A and rather than being a collection it’s integrated across everything that they do, they’ve had that for about 10 years so they were actually way ahead of the game. There’s also the H&M Conscious collection and one that not many people know about is Mango’s sustainable collection, Committed which is part of their Take Action Program.

'I’ve always loved fashion, but if anything: being a bit more social and conscious has made me love my clothes even more. Just like everyone I used to have real "I have nothing to wear moments" and chuck clothes out but being a bit more conscious of my fashion choices has given me more of a connection with my wardrobe. The fact that now it’s made up of everything I love? That just makes fashion more exciting.'

Edited and condensed by Grazia

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