LONDON —Amy Powney is on a mission to educate the fashion industry and the wider general public with her debut documentary “Fashion Reimagined” with director Becky Hutner.
The two women met five years ago when Powney won the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. She told Hutner that she was going to use the money from the fund to make her label, Mother of Pearl, sustainable.
“Hutner just said it was her calling in life to follow my journey,” Powney told WWD in a Zoom interview.
Hutner has been a fly on the wall filmmaker, documenting every step of Powney’s business and activism.
“None of us knew what we were going to find or what was going to happen. I didn’t have a plan, we were just going at it and she didn’t have a narrative or storyboard because she didn’t know what we were going to do,” Powney said of the filming process.
By the end of the five years, Hutner had collected more than 250 hours of footage that she edited down to 92 minutes slated for a Friday release in the U.K.
The experience for Powney has been touching, both on a professional and personal level, she said.
“It’s quite a privilege to have someone capture a moment of your life and time, especially being a mother. I always think that my children will never really remember me now and that they’ll remember me as an older woman,” said Powney, who never intended for the film to be a promotional piece of footage for herself or her brand.
The film is divided into three parts: the statistical part, the supply chain of how a brand operates and the personal journey of Powney.
The documentary takes a different approach to others in the category such as “The True Cost” and “Unravel,” which trace the problem of fashion rather than facing it.
“The most important part about this film is it’s teaching you about a problem and I want people to come away from it saying, ‘I didn’t realize how complex the fashion industry was, but actually this girl’s done something about it, so can I,” said Powney referring to her small upbringing in north of England.
“There’s too much conversation and not enough action. That’s quite a harsh thing to say, but climate change affects everybody,” Powney said.
“It was too much money and too much pressure for seven minutes of your life that we weren’t uplifted from. We were exhausted from it and let down at the end of it because it’s such a huge moment that you put weeks and months into making,” she adds of her experience staging fashion shows.
Powney wants brands and designers to care more about the life of their garments beyond the starting and finishing point, but to rather think about the afterlife of garments and how they’re treated once purchased.
She’s taking it slowly and carefully with her brand Mother of Pearl.
“In all honesty, I just want to make clothes done properly that make women feel good. All I care about for my brand these days is to get a message from a customer to say ‘I’ve got that and it makes me feel amazing,’” Powney said.
“I just want to simplify it and go back to what Coco Chanel was doing back in the day, where it was just making great, nice-quality products done correctly to make women feel good. I don’t really have much more of a desire than that,” she said.