XEL Magazine talks fashion sustainability with designer Holly Jade O'Leary

The Modern Muse - Creative Director Holly Jade O’Leary (c) Duncan Telford 2018

The Modern Muse - Creative Director Holly Jade O’Leary (c) Duncan Telford 2018

Holly Jade O'Leary's luxury fashion editorial campaign. The Modern Muse. Photo courtesy of Duncan Telford, accessorised by Lily Flo Jewellery.

Fashion is one thing, but to make it sustainable is another - and for the industry to function ethically, the importance of combining these elements in 2019 is crucial! We've seen bold fashion choices these past few years and that's certainly where the trend is at. Empowering the self through feeling confident in what you wear, styling your own outfit and being loud and proud about it. However, aside from the creative flare from emerging designers, the industry has to now start looking at how we can make fashion sustainable in 2019.

The Burberry scandal that surfaced in early 2018 was a reminder that more needs to be done in fashion than previously thought. The scandal saw Burberry dispose of £10 million worth of produce, which caused an uproar across the media and started a mission of awareness to tackle the growing issue surrounding sustainability.

Environmental awareness is key and in 2019 it is looking like it will be a turning point for the fashion industry in strategising how we can make fashion affordable and ethical.

Fashion designer Holly Jade O’Leary told us more on the fashion sustainability issue we face today. Holly Jade O'Leary has previously styled for Princess Eugenie, Anna Friel and Pearl Lowe, in her former role as manager and head stylist at Prangsta. Holly has since moved on to exhibit as a fashion designer at St Andrews University and Sketch and is no stranger when it comes to supply and demand in fashion - detailing why Burberry made the controversial choices they did in 2018.

Holly Jade O'Leary's luxury fashion editorial campaign. The Modern Muse. Photo courtesy of Duncan Telford, accessorised by Lily Flo Jewellery.

“When we discuss fashion sustainability, luxury fashion houses must be able to complete their stockists orders with stock and employ expert strategists and in-house risk analysts to forecast to meet demand.”

“One of the reasons why Burberry disposed of a vast number of cosmetics was that the FTSE 100 company had signed a new deal with Coty, the US retail giant and reinvented their identity resulting in the wastage of £10,000,000 worth of products.”

Holly Jade O'Leary is passionate about fashion sustainability and has raised awareness through her beautiful textile art collection, which was exhibited during London Fashion Week September 2018 at Sketch, Mayfair. The designs were even accessorised by Cred Jewellery who were crowned ethical jeweller of the year 2018. It was attended by Baroness Lola Young OBE.

Incandescent Rose by Holly Jade O’Leary (c) Duncan Telford 2018

Incandescent Rose by Holly Jade O’Leary (c) Duncan Telford 2018

Holly Jade O'Leary went on to say " In considering the scandal the entire supply chain infrastructure of the fashion industry has to be illuminated. The Business of Fashion 2018 states that: "excess inventory constituted $472 billion of total lost retail revenue globally in 2015, an increase from $362 billion in 2012."

"Burberry were not alone, with Swiss watchmaker Richemont, who own Cartier and Montblanc having destroyed nearly €500m of its designer stock, and in 2017 H&M were discovered to be powering the city of Sever in Sweden by incinerating €15 million worth of stock which was being burned instead of coal as fuel."

The over supply of stock to retailers could potentially be minimised in future by use of VR installations so that customers can establish a simulation and fitting with products before they are made to order, minimising stock but requiring the paradigm shift within the way we shop for fashion from immediate gratification to a more considered approach."

"Much could be done to raise consumer awareness of waste in the fashion industry and facilitate access to clothing recycling banks within the UK population, with 300, 000 tonnes of textiles sent to landfill each year."

In 2019, we hope to see a brighter future in fashion shining the light on the issues we still face and raise awareness on how we can be environmentally aware. It's looking to be an interesting time in the fashion industry as we begin 2019.

The recent initiation of the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Fashion launched at the COP24 talks held in Katowice, Poland in December saw Stella Mccartney lead in introducing 43 brands including Burberry, Adidas, Kering, H&M and Hugo Boss to implement and support the 16 principals and targets that underline the Fashion Climate Charter, which includes a net zero emissions policy by 2050. It's looking to be an interesting shake up, as progress is made towards transparency and responsibility within the fashion industry in 2019.

www.hollyjadeoleary.com