Shopping mindfully: advice from New Zealand fashion designers

25 May 2021
By Hemma Vara

As the fashion industry looks for ways to minimise its impact on the environment and people, how can we as shoppers make mindful and considered choices? FQ asks local fashion designers for their valuable advice.

Mindful shopping can mean different things to different people, whether it’s focusing on quality over quantity, buying locally made, choosing eco-friendly materials, or supporting socially conscious brands. It’s also about adopting a learned mindset, moving away from impulse buys and not feeling pressured to keep up with what others are wearing.

We talk to local designers making waves in the mindful fashion space for their thoughts around how we as consumers can purchase mindfully. We hope these insights not only deepen your perspective on mindful fashion, but influence the way you consume in general.

Maggie Hewitt

We admire Maggie Hewitt, founder and designer of namesake label Maggie Marilyn, for her enduring perseverance to use fashion to create a better world.

The brand’s mission is to transform the fashion industry into one that is transparent, circular, regenerative and inclusive, with Hewitt taking bold and unconventional steps to achieve this along the way.


Hewitt’s advice to us is that “building a beautifully crafted wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight; it happens over a lifetime. Buy with intention and integrity.”

Emily Miller-Sharma

As General Manager of RUBY and designer of Liam, Emily Miller-Sharma’s mission is to move from a linear to a circular business model and create a societal shift in thinking around the production and consumption of fashion.

Alongside Kate Sylvester and Wayne Conway, Miller-Sharma co-founded fashion industry collective Mindful Fashion New Zealand to support long term and sustainable success through advocacy, sustainable business resources, and facilitation of collaborative solutions.

“The best advice I can give is to take your time. Get to know a brand – follow what they are saying over time and you will get a sense of what they are about and where their priorities are. The deeper you go the more meaningful the questions you ask of them are and the better everything becomes”, says Miller-Sharma.

Gosia Piatek

A pioneer in the sustainable fashion space, Gosia Piatek founded Kowtow in 2006, long before discussions around mindful fashion were mainstream.

Piatek doesn’t compromise on design or values, focusing on slow design, renewable and sustainable fibres, and ethical manufacturing.

She says: “fashion is the second-largest environmental polluter so being mindful of our purchases is the only way forward for the planet. Buying natural fibres such as organic cotton is key, as synthetics only break down to micro-plastics and will never biodegrade. Think about what you need, do your research, and only buy what you will love and keep. Don’t buy spontaneously! Buying less is ultimately the solution towards the climate crisis we are now facing.”

For more mindful fashion inspiration, read about Levi’s latest campaign which encourages us to ‘buy better, wear longer’, and reveals local insights into how we consume clothing:

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