Film lights the way to sustainability in fashion

Film lights the way to sustainability in fashion

A film review of Fashion Reimagined by Marie Watson (mother of Elisha Watson, founder of Nisa):

When English prize winning fashion designer Amy Powney takes us on her  journey to create a sustainably made collection, you can't help but see the parallels with the mission of ethical underwear company Nisa.

After Amy wins a generous cash prize for her luxury Mother of Pearl collection, she decides to use the proceeds to create a ‘from-field-to finished garment’ collection and transform her business.

Director Becky Hutner’s ‘Fashion Reimagined’ documents the challenge Amy and her wing mate Chloe Marks face in developing a No Frills collection. The bottom line is that it must produce only sustainable, ethically made clothing using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) fabric.

Though the film features plenty of gorgeous high fashion, Amy has become shocked and uncomfortable with the waste caused by fast fashion and the massive amount of clothing ending up in landfills.

She wants to make sure the production of her No Frills collection is ethical across the supply chain. Her list includes accounting for animal welfare, fair pay, the amount of carbon emissions and reducing environmental chemical harm.

So far, so Nisa, which sources GOTs certified organic cotton from Melbourne, pays employees the living wage and uses special techniques to minimise the waste at the pattern cutting stage. Though it’s worth noting the Nisa did not start out with a generous cash award.

However, unlike the founding of Nisa, the No Frills journey involves travel across continents and into Europe as Amy and Chloe examine every step of the complex supply chains involved in their project.

We see the influence of Amy’s childhood where she grew up living off grid in rural surroundings. Amy and Chloe need to find where they can source wool that’s soft enough for skin-contact but doesn’t involve treatments that are cruel to animals. And synthetic fibres are out of the question. Though they’re animal friendly, most are highly polluting if made from petrochemicals.

The film also highlights the effect on eco systems of the vast amounts of plastic fibres generated by the textile industry. We learn how much water is used to make a pair of  jeans and other damaging issues relating to the fashion industry.

Amy’s sincerity is obvious, as is her commitment to make an ethical and sustainable product. Like Nisa, the No Frills collection, once completed, is at the vanguard of the fashion industry. We can be proud that the ethical underwear, activewear and swimsuit producer Nisa stands tall alongside such visionaries.

Fashion Reimagined is showing at main centres in New Zealand Aotearoa as part of the Architect and Design Film Festival throughout May and June and ending early July 2024.


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