Clare Press is a woman on a mission as she desires to educate her forward-thinking audience in The Wardrobe Crisis, a podcast focused on sustainable fashion.
You’re the journalist we think of when we think of sustainable fashion, Clare.
Thank you! I’ve been at it a long time.
You were the first Vogue sustainability editor. You’re a global ambassador for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative and are on the advisory board of Copenhagen Fashion Week. You also write books, and make podcasts. Tell us about these roles and how you juggle them?
My podcast is my priority. Each week, I interview designers, academics, thought-leaders and industry insiders on what makes the fashion world work.
I also do a lot of public speaking, whether it’s raising awareness on circular economy for Make Fashion Circular, or hosting events. And I still write, I’ll always do that. Writing is how I make sense of the world. How do I juggle it all? With a military schedule and a very understanding husband - I travel a lot.
In late 2017, I pitched to Australian Vogue that they make me their sustainability editor and they agreed. It was the first role of its kind globally and I am proud that it was my idea, and pushed to make it happen. At first I think people thought it was a bit maybe a bit of a fad or a trend, but sustainability is here to stay. Sustainable and responsible fashion is now mainstream - brands and designers at every level see that they need to engage with it in some way.
What inspired you to be an advocate for responsible fashion?
I studied politics at university and have always seen fashion as connected to wider systems. But there was a catalyst for my activism – the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster in 2013.
The term ‘sustainability’ is a broad term. If you could offer one piece of advice to someone wanting to be more sustainable, what would it be?
Stop consuming mindlessly. Think before you buy, and I’m talking about anything and everything, not just fashion. We need to become mindful across the board, about the food we buy, the packaging we accept, the transport we use, our electricity suppliers, our financial services.
What are your favourite brands?
I love what Mother of Pearl stands for. Surely everyone appreciates Valentino’s incredible craftsmanship, but I wear a lot of vintage and thrifted things. I love the pre-loved.
How can we make more sustainable choices in fashion?
It’s a massive topic and there are so many different aspects and ways in. I’d say start with: appreciate what you buy - choose pieces you will treasure and get wear out of. Say no to disposable fashion. If you need to pass good quality things on, donate, swap or resell them.
You have written a number of books; ‘Wardrobe Crisis’ and more recently ‘Rise & Resist – How to change the world’. Tell us more about them.
Wardrobe Crisis inspired the podcast - it’s about our changing relationship with fashion and the industry’s effects on people and planet. Rise & Resist is about activism across a range of topics from climate to social justice. Clare wears Isabel Marant Emsley Top and Etoile Lowea Pants and Valentino Rockstud Open Sneaker.
Who have been your most interesting interview subjects?
Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo was just on the podcast - definitely a recent highlight. Often, it’s not so much who, as what though. I’m interested in regenerative agriculture, the Sustainable Development Goals, marine health. I’ve also been trying to learn more about the refugee crisis. I like a deep dive.
What have been the biggest challenges in your career?
It’s all a challenge - that’s the point.
The most rewarding?
The community aspect, and how collaborative the sustainability space is. Working with my good friends at Fashion Revolution, Fashion Roundtable, Eco-age, The Sustainable Angle and Global Fashion Exchange. We share, support each other and get things done.
What’s next for you, Clare?
We’re working on a documentary series, which is very exciting, and a new podcast project with the UN.