fashion . Interview

NET-A-PORTER’s Libby Page On Championing Conscious Fashion

Style and sustainability can go hand in hand

Sustainability will always be in style. Ahead, we discover how NET SUSTAIN is empowering consumers to make conscious fashion choices by catching up with NET-A-PORTER’S Senior Market Fashion Editor Libby Page. Plus, Libby tells us what the future of sustainable fashion looks like for her and how championing NET SUSTAIN has impacted her personal outlook on conscious living. 

Net-A-Porter's Senior Fashion Market Editor Libby Page

NET-A-PORTER's Senior Fashion Market Editor Libby Page. (Photo from: NET-A-PORTER)

Hi Libby! What’s a day in the life like for you as the Senior Fashion Market Editor of NET-A-PORTER? 

“I work with the NET-A-PORTER buyers to curate our global edit and represent the season’s key trends. We really try to work as a team to ensure we’re representing the most relevant product out there, constantly thinking of what’s the next big thing and what’s on the frontier.

Apart from that, I ensure that relevant fashion trends are appropriately represented in the NET-A-PORTER seasonal buy through globally attending a wide spectrum of fashion shows, presentations, buying appointments and ongoing trend forecasting.”

Net-A-Porter's Libby Page On Sustainability

Libby works closely with NET-A-PORTER buyers to curate the online retailer's global edit. (Photo from: NET-A-PORTER)

“I’m responsible for championing and discovering new talent with a particular interest in bringing the most innovative and exciting designers in the sustainability space to NET-A-PORTER customers globally. I also work in tandem with our editorial and marketing teams to ensure we’re communicating NET-A- PORTER’s point of view to the fullest.” 

How has working on NET SUSTAIN affected your personal outlook on conscious living?
 
“I’ve learnt that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sustainable fashion. Every brand takes a slightly different approach and prioritises different issues depending on the nature of their supply chain and end product. Therefore, it’s important we take a nuanced and nimble approach with all the brands we stock in advancing this effort.”

What are some key milestones that NET SUSTAIN has achieved since its inception in 2019?
 
“Since its launch in 2019, our NET SUSTAIN edit has steadily increased by nearly 500%, from 26 brands to 153 as of July 2021. To celebrate this expansion, we have also introduced new fashion brands and cult beauty brands. More recently, we introduced the “Designed for Circularity” attribute, which champions brands that help facilitate a change in behaviour away from throwaway culture by focusing on solutions that instead promote product longevity to keep them in use for longer.”

Digital ID technology Porte and Paire shoes

Selected Porte and Paire shoes are embedded with Digital ID technology for consumers to discover the products' unique history and more. Porter & Paire Suede Slippers, USD266 (NET-A-PORTER.com)

“One of our latest initiatives which I am personally very excited about is our new forward-thinking and dynamic experience on selected Porte and Paire shoes, within our NET SUSTAIN edit. These selected items are embedded with Digital ID technology where customers can scan their item to access a product’s unique history from provenance and design through to content and Care & Repair services, providing them with inspiration on ways to style the item, as well as care instructions on how they can treasure it for years to come.”
How has the demand for sustainable fashion changed in the past two years or so?
 
“We see great support amongst our customers for sustainable brands and are constantly growing NET SUSTAIN. Our customer’s desire to shop more sustainably has increased, with sustainability playing a role in deciding purchases for four out of five NET-A-PORTER customers, according to our most recent customer insights survey. 

Moreover, our customers are highly conscious about the importance of buying more sustainably — long-lasting quality, versatility and quality are fundamental purchase drivers. It has become a huge focus, and we are seeing more and more emerging and established brands becoming increasingly aware of their environmental impact developing sustainable practices and paving the way in the industry.”

Which emerging, sustainable design talents were you most excited to introduce to NET-A-PORTER, and why?

Net-A-Porter NET SUSTAIN designers

Left - Connor Ives; Right - Sindiso Khumalo (Photos from: NET-A-PORER)

“I love how new brands under NET SUSTAIN, for instance, Conner Ives, Sindiso Khumalo, Caes and Lukhanyo Mdingi are all really pioneering new ways of producing their collections. Sindiso Khumalo is incredibly inspiring. She works closely with small workshops in South Africa, producing unique hand-woven and hand-embroidered textiles for each collection, using organic cotton, linen and hemp. The brand is also vetted to be part of our Vanguard programme.”


Lukhanyo Mdingi on Net-A-Porter

Lukhanyo Mdingi. (Photo from: NET-A-PORTER)

“Another designer to look out for is Conner Ives. His innovation in sustainability through upcycling mixed with his incredible use of print and colour is exactly what we are looking for in an emerging designer. My favourites this season include the cotton jersey midi-dress, which uses leftover sportswear fabric and is upcycled into an exceptional piece.”

How do you anticipate the conversation on sustainable fashion to change within the next five years?

“I hope more new-gen designers come to the fore, who are making sustainability key to their brand DNA and I think we will see continued interest from consumers who wish to shop with sustainability considerations in mind.”

Net-A-Porter's Senior Fashion Market Editor Libby Page

"I've learnt that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sustainable fashion," shared Libby.

“Seeing this appetite from our customers grow whilst continuing to educate them to make more informative purchases could transform the way we shop for the future. This increased customer appetite should also lead to an increase in demand for more sustainable practices, which will only lead to a more exciting and prevalent offering of designers that have sustainable considerations at the heart of their work.”

Tell us more about the NET SUSTAIN’s inaugural initiative in Singapore. What inspired the team to launch this partnership?

“As we aim to enable customers to make informed and conscious choices through our NET SUSTAIN edit, the partnership with Capella Hotel Singapore is the perfect continuation of this initiative. The hotel makes a conscious effort to preserve energy, reduce electricity, gas and water usage, and ultimately takes a holistic view on sustainability. Their initiatives and commitment to sustainability go hand in hand with NET SUSTAIN.”

A Considered Life with NET SUSTAIN


Singapore staycation by Net-A-Porter and Capella Hotel Singapore

A Considered Life: NET-A-PORTER has partnered with Capella Hotel Singapore to offer a conscious-themed staycation experience for the month of September. (Photo from: NET-A-PORTER)

NET SUSTAIN was established in 2019 to highlight and celebrate brands that fulfil the criteria for sustainability. The platform’s aim is to shift consumer mindsets and encourage informed choices through a considered customer journey and a dynamic shopping experience. 

Fast forward to the present, NET-A-PORTER observed significant developments to NET SUSTAIN, and thus, decided to form an inaugural partnership with Capella Hotel Singapore to offer a staycation experience for guests to discover more considered ways of living. The platform also teamed up with The MeshMinds Foundation to organise an exhibition at Capella entitled Please Insert Women, which features original augmented reality (AR) artworks from four Singaporean female artists. Capella Hotel Singapore is located at 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, S(098297).

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

(Cover photo from: NET-A-PORTER)