Blazing a Trail: Amy Powney

Amy Powney is a changemaker of the highest calibre. She joined Mother of Pearl as an assistant in 2006 and quickly worked her way up to become the brand’s Creative Director and co-owner. Known for it’s no-frills aesthetic and impressive sustainable credentials, the brand has dressed everyone from Paloma Faith to Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2022 the documentary Fashion Reimagined came out, detailing Amy’s quest to design a completely sustainable collection from field to finished garment.


Tell us about Mother of Pearl (MOP) and the philosophy behind it.

Mother of Pearl is a contemporary womenswear brand that celebrates individuality, authenticity and sustainability. My design mantra is classic, but never boring. We make fashion with heart and conscience, that doesn’t cost the earth.

As a Creative Director what do you draw inspiration from?

My cloth! Since I started tracing my supply chains, I always begin there which sounds logical but most designers start at the end. Once I have a supply chain I am happy with and the cloth in my hands I can dream up what it can become.

I take inspiration from the real women in my life and those I see around me. My USP is elevated core pieces, so simplistic classics but with a design edge that elevates it into something unique and makes the wearer feel special. I used to call myself a fashion designer and now I say I make clothes to make women feel great.

What are you currently reading?

If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie and Charles Dowdings’ book No Dig, swooning over the day I can grow food.

In the documentary “Fashion Reimagined”, you say that you’ve always felt like an outsider in the fashion industry. How do you think this has shaped MOP?

Over time I have slowly gained confidence in my roots, who I am and where I come from and I have created my best work since I decided to be true to my authentic self. It's allowed me to re-think things and do it differently. I can now sit inside and outside of the industry and see it with many views and re-shape my practices for the better.

If you weren’t a Creative Director, what other career would you have liked?

A drummer (I used to play many moons ago) and a gardener – not forgetting my other career which is raising my kids, possibly the most challenging and rewarding role I have ever been in.

MOP is about “no frills” fashion, what is your most cherished item in your wardrobe?

My Wren coat. I am a casual dresser and being a mum and CEO/creative director on the run at all times I need easy pieces that elevate mum to fashion designer in a simple layer! So my Wren coat is my ultimate hero piece. It’s my dream coat (which I have in many colours) and elevates even the shabbiest weekend mum look.

You’re heading off on a staycation later this year, can you give us any sneak peeks of your itinerary?

Yes, I’m so excited! I will be doing a road trip around Devon and Cornwall. The first stop is the Jurassic Coast for some fossil hunting for my nephew, then onto Totnes to see some friends where we will be staying at the Bull Inn and heading to Riverford kitchen for food. Then onto Sea Forts in Makers Heights for some coastal glamping, and St Agnes to see Finisterre, stopping off at the Eden project along the way. And I haven’t worked my way back yet – that's chapter 2!

It’s easy to look for inspiration beyond our doorstep, but do you have any favourite local spots you can share with us?

I spend a lot of my time with my Walthamstow community. With kids it’s often easier to stay local and we have the most incredible friends here. Our house backs onto Lloyd Park, the home of the William Morris Gallery, which is his old family home. It’s the most beautiful park with a great food market on a Saturday. Eat 17 in Walthamstow Village is our go-to eatery and there are eight breweries in Walthamstow too for a weekend hang out. Outside of Walthamstow I am desperate to try the restaurant Silo!

Tell us of a place that recently exceeded your expectations!

Slow Burn, which is a restaurant that shares its space with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. The food is incredible and albeit not new to me, you get to see first hand the inside of a working factory.

At Allbirds we believe in doing better things in a better way. Which businesses, global or local, do you think embody positive change?

Allbirds of course. Tencel for inside the supply chain, Earthrise for their incredible communication around climate, Riverford for my food, Ecotricity for my energy, Weleda for my skincare, Stripe and Stare for my pants, Finisterre for my chunky knits and Monica Vinader for my jewellery.

Are there any up and coming brands in this space that we should be keeping an eye out for?

These aren't necessarily up and coming brands but I love what platforms such as Curate & Rotate are doing, or independents such as Beaumont Organics, who are really curating their offering to be as ethical and sustainable as possible, whilst their communication is on point for inspiring education.