Life as I know it: Amy Powney

Gwyneth Paltrow (wearing Mother of Pearl) and Amy Powney at Goop pop-up shop launch party in London

Amy Powney, the Creative Director of Mother of Pearl, launched her sustainable fashion line, No Frills, this season. Protecting the environment has been at the heart of Powney’s life since she was raised off-grid as a child. Here she shares how she does it now, at work and at home…

Veggie sometimes
I am mostly vegetarian but I’ve got to a point where I try not to give myself too much of a hard time when I’m not. If I do eat meat, it’s free range so I know where it’s from and I avoid beef and pork as they’re two of the worst in the industry. At work we’ve introduced a lunch scheme where we all sit down to lunch made from farmdrop.com product.  Vegetarian and grown locally, it’s delivered to the door and comes pretty much packaging-free. I thought 15 people eating vegetarian Monday to Friday makes a bigger impact than me just doing it on my own. 

Energy switch
The biggest thing we did in the office and the biggest thing that any company or individual can do is to change your energy supplier to a green one. It might be £10 or £20 a month more but that’s affordable for many people, especially if they are very keen to make a difference. Go to simplyswitch.com

"With our horse Kalif when he was a foal, I watched him being born earlier that year."
"Camping with my dad and my sister in the Lake District - we did this most years and some years interspersed with Butlins!"

Refill and re-use
We have an organic shop near our house in Walthamstow, east London (veghut.net) that does organic refills of Ecover (go to ecover.com to find your nearest store). Other brands are doing this too now – so you just buy one bottle and go back for refills. Brilliantly, they’re now also doing refills of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Beauty products have been my bugbear for years – there seemed no way not to litter your bathroom with plastic. And often glass is not the best option as some councils don’t recycle. Shampoo soap bars (without palm oil) are the best thing to use, but I haven’t found a great one, so if anyone has any ideas I would love to know! I do recommend contentbeautywellbeing.com for other beauty purchases as the founder Imelda Burke personally checks everything she stocks.

Buy second-hand
When my husband Nick and I renovated our house, the main thing was buying second-hand. Our chairs were £20 on ebay.com and we reupholstered them with House of Hackney fabric. But sustainability isn’t just a thing that you can buy, it’s a mind-set. It’s a bit of a make-do-and-mend philosophy, which sounds really unglamorous but can be fun. 

Photo credit: Megan Taylor

Keep it simple
We were thinking about wallpapering the whole house because I love print, but we didn’t want to risk getting bored of it. We decided that sustainability can be as simple as white walls and dark floors. You can change it up with new artwork or reupholstery. What’s amazing is that because we’ve got so much less, I can’t even seem to make a mess. Now we go to bed every night and the most chaotic thing that can happen is that my jumper is on the floor! It really gives you a different headspace to have nothing. 

Ditch the plastic
At work we focus on waste – and trying not to create it. For deliveries we are working on plant-based packaging and compostable plastics (everywhere else is recycled and recyclable!) We also have a plastic bottle ban in the office. We installed reverse osmosis water filter which give us super-duper water. I feel terrible if I buy a plastic bottle. The waste is one thing but also do you really want to drink water that’s been siting in plastic in a warehouse for goodness knows how long? I never have takeaway coffees. I don’t even have a refillable coffee cup because I won’t drink it unless I’m at home or in the office.

On a break from a walk in the Lake District whilst camping with the family.
Me and my childhood friend Andrew and his puppies at their house.

Sell, swap and party
I wear my own label and rarely buy other clothes. I’m very fortunate that I can get new product every season, although these days I tend to order just one thing because otherwise I’m taking home armfuls of clothes that I really don’t need – even if it is sustainable. Before Christmas I am going to do a clothes sale with my friend Jasmine Hemsley and a few others. We’ve got quite a lot of good quality clothing between us and we’ll get to declutter and give the money to charity. That’s something else that people can do – if you’ve bought quality product then swap it, share it and pass it on. Give it a new home and be respectful of it. And have a bit of a party while you’re doing it!