Dolly Jones and Amy Powney Talk Sustainable Luxury at Royal Marsden Charity Gala

Eco-Age chief content officer Dolly Jones and Mother of Pearl’s Amy Powney joined Rosanna Falconer for the Royal Marsden Gala Speaker Series. Rosanna, committee co-chair and Eco-Age contributor, shares her highlights from the day.     Alexandra Carello and I first joined forces for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity back in 2017 when we raised £100,000 with a gala dinner. This year, we wanted to create a new spin on the traditional fundraising format. Wednesday 3rd April was a day of two halves: a thought-provoking talk series in the morning followed by a disco extravaganza in the evening. Think of of it as some inspiration for the mind before the celebration of the dance floor! Having both worked in fashion for over a decade, we had each noticed a seismic shift in the luxury industry, both from a brand and consumer perspective. Sustainability has been pushed to the forefront of the agenda for many customers and an ever-increasing number of brands. The industry leaders that we gathered to speak are trailblazing new paths. Who better to define and discuss the meaning of modern luxury and the fashion revolution?  
Image: Alexandra Carello, Jane Shepherdson CBE, Amy Powney, Dolly Jones, Rosanna Falconer.

We welcomed 80 guests from the fashion and luxury industries including Kate Halfpenny, founder of Halfpenny London, Natasha Rufus-Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan, co-founders of Beulah London and Melissa Del Bono, founder of meli melo to our venue, Albert’s Members’ Club. Every penny raised will support the world’s leading cancer hospital in building the new Oak Cancer Centre, enabling The Royal Marsden to stay at the forefront of cancer research.

Our speakers came from four fields of the industry: designer Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl, Eco-Age chief content officer Dolly Jones, retail expert Jane Shepherdson CBE and influencer Kelly Eastwood. We are so grateful to them for giving up their time and sharing their innate knowledge and passion with such wit and candour. It is events, participants and guests like this that give us hope for a future beyond cancer.

“Now in our second year of organising events for the Marsden, we are always moved by the stories we hear from guests, donors and performers. These personal narratives inspire us to do more and ensure we keep engaging more people with the power to change lives,”  says Alexandra Carello, committee co-chair.

The morning began with a panel discussion on the future of modern luxury with Dolly Jones and Amy Powney.  “Sustainability is a mindset. It’s a filtration process, a different way of thinking, so it filters into everything you think and do. At every moment and every decision you make, how can you make the best decision? What is my entire impact?” said Amy during the discussion. 

“The sustainability revolution we are seeing now reflects the digital revolution we saw all those years ago – luxury brands are slowly realising it’s an essential to have central to their business,” added Dolly. “As the consumer demands it, and the millennial workforce demand it of the businesses they work for, brands have to get their ducks in line.”

“A clear conscience is the ultimate luxury.”

Next, I spoke to Jane Shepherdson CBE who said: “The fashion industry has changed more in the last three years than in my whole career. People are finally beginning to think that the non-stop consumption has to stop. We are only at the beginning of that change. Furthermore, fashion isn’t as important to people now as it once was. The consumer now seeks experiences. Also, we are less trend-driven now… There is no need to buy more.”

“We have to change what we are doing,” she added. “Rental is the future. It takes the guilt out of buying the garment by sharing it. In 5 years’ time we won’t be shopping, we will be renting and people will really think before they buy.”

Finally, Kelly spoke of her decision use her influence online for good via her #BuyToGive collaborations and projects. She encouraged guests to take responsibility for their choices online: “All of you on Instagram have a voice for your passions. Its 600 million users are the democratisation of giving – everyone can make a difference.”   


All images credit: Ana Ruivo

Read Rosanna Falconer’s take on Alberta Ferretti’s Love Me collection.

Read Amy Powney’s Life As I Know It.