"I only buy three or four new pieces each season and most of my clothes come from Margaret Howell." Make it last talks to fashion features editor at L'Express, Marta Represa.
I am one of those fashion industry clichés who, as a kid, wouldn’t let my mum be until she got me the latest issue of Vogue America – which, at the time, was the only international magazine available in provincial Spain where I lived. Later on I would go to Madrid to buy issues of The Face and I-D and Dazed; I loved fashion because it was so different from everything around me.
It’s a luxury for me to meet fascinating, creative people of all fields, ages and backgrounds, talk to them, learn from them and then narrating their stories and sharing them with the readers, I have so much fun doing it. It may sound super cheesy but I’m motivated by beauty and fun, in the widest sense of the words. I’d like to surround myself with those things and also to create and transmit a bit of that.
To me, basically, sustainability is about living in harmony with nature, and about being grateful and respectful of the Earth, the animals and other humans. I think that mindset makes life so much easier. I’m not so much about rules or restrictions – although I do eat a lot of vegan food, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan – but about balance and consciousness and gratefulness. There’s a Native American proverb that goes something like “before you make any decision, think about how it’s going to affect the next seven generations”. I think it’s a pretty good philosophy to live by, even if I sound a bit Hollywood!
Coconut oil is the best thing ever, I use it to moisturize my body and face and also to remove your makeup or make an overnight hair mask. It makes everything so much easier especially if you travel as you don’t have to pack a ton of beauty products. In cosmetic products and toothpaste I try to use as little plastic as possible – because it all ends up in the sea! – and as a keen surfer I contribute to organizations that protect the oceans. To be honest I’m still frustrated, and thinking of the ways I could do more, especially considering the current political circumstances.
In the Marais, it’s easy to be sustainable as we have the organic, local market, lots of vegan cafés, beautiful clothing stores, but it’s only easy if you have a certain amount of money though. It’s a bubble within a bubble. In other areas of Paris I’m pretty sure it’s not as easy at all.
When I get tired of all the uber fashionable people I go to the Rive Gauche, towards Saint Germain. It’s a lot more old fashioned there, but I like old fashioned. The Café de Flore is still one of my favourite Paris hangouts.
I always feel like my origins are celebrated and honored here and I love the French for that but I’m not sure I fit so well in into French culture, I lack the really Cartesian, rational spirit, and the seriousness. I’m very into self-deprecating humour. I feel a lot more anglo-saxon in that way. I’m currently reading one of the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse, they are so funny and always work when I need cheering up! Before that I just finished James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce, a noir American novel from the 40s that inspired the Joan Crawford film, and Hemingway’s The Old man and the sea.
Day-to-day my look is a mixture of masculine-feminine elements, so if I do trousers it’ll be Paul Smith, they are so comfy and well cut for me or jeans – I’m really into Margaret Howell’s Japanese denim otherwise a short skirt – I’m obsessed with Le Kilt at the moment. I’ll wear this with a silk shirt or wool/cashmere jumper and always comfortable shoes, trainers (yes, I love the Stan Smiths by Raf Simons, I guess that much I’ve absorbed from French culture) or Church’s. I like wearing oversized coats on top of everything, this season I’m really thinking of buying a Mackintosh.
I actually only buy three or four new pieces each season and most of my clothes come from Margaret Howell. Except from a couple of organic wool jumpers, which aren’t labelled as ethical per se, but are made in extremely ethical conditions, most of the fabrics are sourced in small towns in Japan, Italy or the UK – I particularly have a thing for her Scottish wool sweaters – and handmade in the UK by teams that personally interact with Margaret herself. Also, she makes clothes that last forever, which is sustainable in itself.
I admire anyone who has the guts to start their own business independently and stick to their vision, be it household names like Dries Van Noten, Yohji Yamamoto or Rick Owens, or emerging talent like Molly Goddard or Tuomas Merikoski’s Aalto. It’s not easy to be innovative and fight for your vision in a world of corporate conformity. That goes for fashion as well as other fields. I also really admire athletes like Rafa Nadal, for his mental and emotional strength, and surfer Kelly Slater, for his work ethics and for all he does for the marine environment. He’s the real deal.
Follow Marta Represa here.
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