Rixo: My Sustainable Life - ‘You don’t need to buy something new for it to be great’

The fashion designer Henrietta Rix, one half of the cult brand, tells Olivia Petter how sustainability influences her daily life

Friday 17 September 2021 06:00

The Independent’s My Sustainable Life is a Q&A series in which famous faces reveal their personal approach to the climate crisis

This week, for My Sustainable Life, we hear from British fashion designer Henrietta Rix, who, along with Orlagh McCloskey, founded cult British label RIXO.

Previous guests on My Sustainable Life include singer Birdy and model Daisy Lowe.

The acclaimed design duo behind RIXO are responsible for some of the most Instagrammable dresses around, having been seen on everyone from Holly Willoughby to Sandra Bullock.

Here, Rix explains how she’s trying to cut down her meat consumption, resetting at her family’s home in Wales, and why her mother is her sustainability hero.

The most sustainable decision I made in the past year was…

I try to only buy vintage clothing and wear RIXO samples, reducing my consumption where I can. I absolutely love vintage and antique shopping, for my clothes, accessories and for my home – we also furnish our RIXO stores with special pieces we find at antique fairs; it makes each store individual.

As a business, we changed the RIXO business model to be buy now wear now season-less drops rather than seasons - encouraging our customers through styling to purchase RIXO pieces that can be layered for any season and occasion. We’re all about dressing things up for occasions and then wearing the same dress with trainers during the day.

My least sustainable guilty habit is…

I’m consciously trying to eat less meat to be more sustainable, but I’ve definitely got some work to do. I’m trying to explore more vegetarian recipes and restaurants so that it becomes more of a second nature, but I’ve always been a meat eater so it’s harder than I thought it would be.

If I ruled the world, I would make it more sustainable by…

Inventing sustainable travel. Orlagh and I absolutely love to travel, it’s what’s inspired our whole March collection that we’re showing at London Fashion Week; imagine if planes around the world weren’t damaging to the environment – we’d all be able to explore and see so much more.

When I want to feel in touch with the natural world I…

Take a break from London and head to Wales back to my childhood family home. Whenever I go there, I spend as much time as I can outside. It’s so beautiful; there’s a stream that runs through our garden and mountains are literally everywhere you look. It’s such a change from my busy London life, and the perfect place to go for a reset.

If I could invent one thing that would make my life more sustainable it would be…

Having a big enough garden to create a vegetable patch of my own. I’d love to be able to grow my own seasonal produce, there’s nothing better than home-grown produce.

My sustainability hero is…

My mum has taught me so much about making more sustainable choices, from food to fashion. I grew up with her taking me to antique fairs on the weekends, she fueled my love of vintage and helped me develop an eye for spotting a gem. She taught me that you don’t need to buy something new for it to be great, and that has really stayed with me.

The one thing everyone should watch or read about the climate crisis is…

There’s a really good documentary on fast fashion on Netflix [The True Cost] – it’s so important to understand the impact it has on the environment to be able to make wiser, less impactful shopping choices. I recommend everyone watching it.

My favourite vegan or vegetarian restaurant is…

We spent the RIXO summer day out at The Pig in Kent. The whole team had the most delicious lunch in their outside restaurant under the sun and it was all either vegetarian or vegan. All the vegetables were grown on site, they gave us a tour and we got to try so much of it - it was such a great experience for us all, especially to do together.

My one piece of advice to people trying to be more sustainable is…

Try to shop in a more season-less way, buying pieces that you can wear for the summer, layer up for the winter, pair with trainers for a daytime look and dress up with heels. Also try buying investment pieces means that your clothes will be better quality and last longer.

Three sustainable brands everyone should know about

Cubbits Antiques on Lillie Road – the best second-hand furniture store

Pai Skincare- an organic beauty brand

Rotaro - rental fashion website

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