“‘Considered Fashion, Conscious Design and Sustainability’ - the three terms cropping up more often in the fashion industry” began Hilary Alexander OBE, and it’s these three terms which summarise Amy Powney’s ethical approach to designing.


In her younger years, Powney lived off the grid with no running water or electricity, which she cites as the source of her never ending curiosity for how things worked, leading her to question exactly why clothes were made the way they were. Her graduate collection was focussed on ethical fashion 14 years ago, before sustainability was even in the fashion industry’s subconscious.

Since winning the BFC’s 2017 New Gen award and becoming the creative director of Mother of Pearl, she has been striving to make sure every element of her designs is filtered through her “guilt filter” - the name she gave to her process of thinking about the impact everything she creates has on the planet.

Whilst typically designers create a design then make the piece, Powney chooses her fabrics first, then designs a garment around it. She sources all of her fabric herself and follows the process through production to final creation to ensure every step of the way is as sustainable and ethical as possible.


Powney has a strict routing when sourcing her materials; researching which countries provide the most sustainable fabrics - India and Turkey for cotton, for example, - and relying on TENCEL, a sustainable fibre source, are very important to her.

“Sustainability should be in every thought process that you have”.

The future of Mother of Pearl is shaping up to be their most conscious yet, with the SS20 line almost 100% sustainable, and turning her attention to creating more ethically responsible trims and pearls, as well as continuing to ensure her fabrics are as sustainable and responsible as possible.

Written by Faith Richardson

Photography by Nicholas Kristiansen