Clare Press, Vogue Sustainability Editor, author and podcast host
Well, this is quite exciting to be able to share with you all. If you don't already know Clare Press, she is definitely someone to follow. Author, Sustainability Editor at Vogue, Podcaster, Climate activist + one absolute style queen! I first chatted to Clare when she wrote up a piece about Design Within country for Marie Claire and since then I have been completely inspired by her. She is so passionate for a better future and this passion has inspired so many people, including myself. She loves fashion but is also so aware of its impact on the world around us. She celebrates it but also questions it and it's her honest approach that I find so refreshing and encouraging. As always I hope this inspires you and is a great start to your week!
Image captured by Will Braden
Firstly, I would love to know what inspired you to start your wonderful podcast, Wardrobe Crisis?
“It’s based on my book of the same name - I wanted to continue the conversations. I’d been interviewing all these incredible people, and thought it would be so great if others could join in on a 40-minute conversation and hear its twists and turns. We cover designers of course - this is a fashion podcast
- but that doesn’t limit us. I’m looking at the big issues that put fashion in context, so I’m as likely to make a show about plastic pollution or climate protests as I am about fashion week. I love listening to podcasts and I love making them.”
Not only via your podcast but also as the sustainability editor of Vogue Australia, you get to have some pretty incredible conversations with some pretty amazing game-changers. Why do you think it’s important to have conversations around ethical / sustainable fashion? What is so important about having these conversations?
“To learn. Honestly, it’s a simple as that. We learn from other people, by sharing knowledge, seeing processes, and asking questions about them. Books and films are wonderful of course but there’s nothing like a proper conversation. I’m learning along with my guests."
You have such an incredible passion for creating a better fashion industry, where did this passion begin?
“I changed my professional life to focus on sustainable fashion after Rana Plaza. I joined the advisory board of Fashion Revolution, and started to use my voice, and my platform as an established fashion journalist, to advocate for a more sustainable fashion industry. I also wrote a book, Wardrobe Crisis, How we went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion
, examining our broken fast fashion system. But I don’t think I would have called myself as fashion activist back then.
I happily do now.
I believe we should all be activists. Through my podcast, Instagram and my newest book - Rise & Resist, How to change the World
– I throw all my efforts these days into fashion activism. I desperately want this industry that has been my professional home for the past two decades to clean up its act.”
Not only are you an incredible advocate for a better fashion industry, you are also quite a style queen! I’d love to know how you would describe your style and what you love about getting dressed everyday?
“Awww, I am so grateful that you think that! If you saw me at my desk in crap jeans and a T-shirt, I doubt you’d say ‘style queen’. But I do enjoy dressing up. I’ve always loved fancy clothes - I’m drawn to shiny, ruffled things, velvet, bright colours and florals. On the calmer side, I like the colour blue, a white shirt never hurts, and I have a thing for blue-and-white stripes. I noticed it recently when I was looking through old photos for an Eco-Age story
. At every age, the blue stripes. And the same hairstyle.”
What’s the best piece of advice you have every received?
“’The harder you work, the luckier you get.’ That and, ‘Be kind.’ Kindness solves most things.”
Clare at the Green Carpet Awards, Milan 2018
Speaking of advice, what advice would you give to a young designer just starting out? What is the one thing you think they need to focus on the most?
“You want me to say sustainability, right? But I’m actually going to say: find your unique voice. Work really hard on that. Of course, sustainability is vital, but if you don’t have a clear and specific point of view, it’s very hard to make it. There’s too much competition in fashion, we have too many labels and too many clothes. The designers who will succeed will be the ones who offer a uniquely persuasive proposition - not just an organic T-shirt. You have to think: why would my customers come to me? What makes my work unique?’”
What is your favourite sustainability hack? Something simply that you think everyone can easily adopt in their day to day life? Like switching to who gives a crap toilet paper or refusing take away coffee cups.
“Buy yourself a steel reusable water bottle, and ban yourself from buying water if you forget it while you’re out and about. It soon becomes habit. Also, try to buy veggies and flowers that have been grown locally, and are in season. Once you start noticing that, it changes everything. So, you can’t have asparagus if it’s not in season. Simple. A bit of self-imposed denial can be a good thing - it helps you disconnect from our unsustainable convenience culture, and reset. Makes you appreciate things more.”
If you could interview anyone body in the world for Wardrobe Crisis, who would it be and why?
“The dream would be David Attenborough. Let’s put it out there, shall we? I have a vision board type situation on my office wall covered in post-it notes of people I’d love to interview. 104 episodes in, I’ve interviewed many of them already, people like Sinéad Burke, Katharine Hamnett and the economist Raj Patel. Ashley Judd is on my wall. I think she’s wonderful - have you see her TED talk? I have some awesome guests coming up for Series 4 in February.”
One movie everyone needs to watch and why?
“2040, Damon Gameau’s climate film. It’s a beautiful persuasive take on what the human race could do to turn the climate crisis around, using technologies, processes and ideas that are already in existence. It’s full of hope.”
Finally, I would love to know what your favourite piece from FOLD is and why?
“I love the way you combine an easy languor with wonderful, natural fabrics. My favourite outfit this season would have to be the ‘Fold’ top
in fresh white with the ‘Fold’ trousers
in blue. I feel like that’s the perfect, timeless effortless summer vibe. Plus, I love, love, love your model.”
If you aren't already, I highly recommend you giving Clare a follow HERE
listening to her podcast HERE
and learning more about her HERE
and even treat yourself to one of your books this Christmas!
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