Fashion is a notoriously stubborn industry. This documentary does little to dispel that reputation, but you don’t have to be a dedicated follower of fashion to be gripped.

In this well-crafted film, writer-director Becky Hutner takes us on a journey through the working life of Amy Powney, a Millennial fashion designer fighting an uphill battle to affect positive change in her field.

Powney, the creative director of popular British label Mother of Pearl, designs wearable, super-feminine clothing at a luxury level. In 2017, she decided to embark on a challenge that both unheard of and deeply important to her personally: to make an entirely sustainable luxury collection – from the people picking the cotton to the plastic bags being recycled along the way – in time for a looming London Fashion Week deadline.

Fashion ReImagined Trailblazing fashion designer Amy Powney is on a mission to create a sustainable collection from field to finished garment and transform the way we engage with fashion A feature documentary by Becky Hutner Film Still Pic supplied by Chris Lawrance Director at Independent Film Publicist
Trailblazing fashion designer Amy Powney is on a mission to create a sustainable collection from field to finished garment

Travelling from Uruguay to Peru via Turkey, she and her collaborator Chloe Marks repeatedly bump up against the flagrantly wasteful and often indifferent – chasing supply chains, demanding social responsibility and fair wages for workers, and protecting animal welfare and water usage – all make for a difficult job indeed. Along the way, Hutner provides some chilling facts about the fashion world, explaining that if the industry were a nation, it would be third behind the US and China on carbon emissions.

If all of this seems like it might be dour, the pleasure of Fashion Reimagined is that it isn’t: it’s not preachy or doom-laden, nor is it fixed on some head-in-the-clouds fashion person who might prove exhausting to watch. It gives space to Powney’s human (and animal) relationships, and the exploratory travel that she and Chloe undertake on their trip.

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Powney is a refreshing protagonist. Her background, as the doc reveals but doesn’t belabour, is unusual: her father, an environmental activist, shipped her family into a caravan when she was young, instilling in her an unfussy attitude and a love of nature. Her down-to-earth vibe doesn’t scream “hotshot fashion designer”, and she seems quietly determined to achieve her goal of making fashion better for the planet, one garment at a time.

Although setbacks seem insurmountable, Powney has not only succeeded with Mother of Pearl’s sustainability, but also helped to encourage a wave of brands to follow her lead. It is a truism bordering on the annoying to say that one person can make a difference, but Powney is proof, and while it might not be groundbreaking, Fashion Reimagined is a lovely film about exactly that.

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