Karen Walker Discusses Her Drive For The Future

The respected fashion designer is one of several inspiring figures featured in the latest edition of Viva Drives, presented by Lexus, available in Viva Magazine - Volume Eight

Lexus ambassador Karen Walker. Photo / Supplied

As we move ever closer to a renewed sense of normality after two years of uncertainty, 2022 feels like the time for a fresh start. Where the fashion industry is concerned, there has never been a better time to assess its sustainability, review materials and supply chains, and work towards a circular production model.

For fashion designer and Lexus ambassador Karen Walker, zero waste, fully organic and Fair Trade production are already at the centre of her namesake brand’s ready-to-wear collections. “We’re very proud of our current product offering and supply chain,” Karen says. “Looking at our biggest category, the cotton ready-to-wear we make in India is a good example. All this cotton is India-grown and certified organic; for the garment making we work with Fair Trade Certified™ makers; and fabric off-cuts are broken back down to fibre and reknitted or rewoven.”

Clint wearing Asuwere and Thom Morison, and Lucy, wearing an organic cotton blouse by Karen Walker, with the 2022 Lexus NX450h+ F Sport PHEV SUV. Photo / Mara Sommer

The company is also committed to the use of renewable natural fibres including linen and ramie, and viscose produced from the natural waste of rose farms in Italy. “If a synthetic fibre is required, where possible we use recycled [material] such as polyester formulated from plastic waste.”

As consumers, we have the power to make our purchases count, so reviewing a brand’s sustainable practices before you swipe your card is a good way to shop more consciously. Check out the company’s website for its production methods, materials, circularity and where and by whom their garments are made. It shouldn’t be hard to find and if it is, don’t be shy about contacting a brand and asking directly.

Karen Walker Organic Cotton Shirt. Photo / Supplied

Or take it one step further and shop virtually. Luxury brands have begun offering exclusive digital-only pieces for gaming platforms. Could owning a designer piece without the environmental footprint be the way of the future? “We’ve been working in this area for some time, with [styling platform] Covet featuring our ranges in their wardrobe since 2020,” she explains. “It gives you all the playfulness that fashion’s always had at its heart, in a new way.”

Karen Walker Organic Cotton Dress. Photo / Supplied

Whether you delve into virtual dressing or prefer a real-life wardrobe, it’s all about acting with awareness. “The most sustainable wardrobe is the one you already have,” says Karen. “Do you really need something additional? If so, go for quality — something that will last. Wear it, treat it well, wash it carefully, mend it and care for it. When selecting it, consider swapping with pals or buying vintage. In short, buy less and better.”

This article was originally published in Viva Magazine - Volume Eight.

Find this interview and other insightful features that look at redefining luxury in a very special edition of Viva Drives, a mini-magazine presented by Lexus and guest-edited by Lucy Slight and Clint Roberts. Pick up your copy with Viva Magazine - Volume Eight, available now at retailers nationwide.


Share this:
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

Subscribe to E-Newsletter