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Livia Firth

The Eco Age co-founder (and wife of actor Colin) has a mission to make fashion sustainable, she tells Graeme Moran.

You’ve launched an online shop-in-shop as part of etailer Yoox’s eco-friendly fashion initiative Yooxygen, in time for Earth Day on April 22. Why have you done this?

Last summer we shut our west London store and turned it into our HQ to develop Eco Age, an online magazine and worldwide shop. We didn’t have an online presence and it seemed the best way to go forward. Lots of our customers are abroad and we wanted them to be happy.

Why did you choose Yoox?

Yoox is the first shop online to dedicate a selected area to eco and ethical fashion. Also, they are Italians - I think that was a big part of why I got involved!

Where did your love of eco fashion come from?

It all comes from being Italian. We look at fashion in a different way, we treat our clothes differently and with slightly more respect. Since I started working at Eco Age, I discovered more things about the impact that fashion has on the environment and human rights, and that changed my perception forever.

Why do you think eco fashion has a bad reputation?

People once perceived it as ‘brown hemp sandals’ kind of fashion, but there are so many designers making beautiful clothes with an extra-caring eye to the environmental impact while also bearing in mind the social justice implications in the production chain.

What can the fashion industry do to be more sustainable?

If you can be in charge of your production chain and have full traceability, that is already a huge part of it all. Then there is the entire conversation about materials.

Tell us about the Green Carpet Challenge - why did you decide to champion it?

When Colin [Firth, Livia’s husband] received the Golden Globe nomination for A Single Man, we couldn’t resist using fashion as a campaigning tool and the red-carpet situation as the perfect occasion for it.

You once wore a red-carpet outfit made from your husband’s old suits. Where did this idea come from?

I’m a compulsive upcycler of old clothes. I do it with almost everything I put my hands on, and if I can’t upcycle it or recycle it, I give it to my friends as a present.

Who are your favourite eco designers or sustainable brands?

Henrietta Ludgate, KAMI Organic and Kayu, just to name a few, and definitely all the ones on sale at Eco Age that I’ve picked.

If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jeans, a T-shirt and boots.

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

A black cashmere sweater with a sparkly spider on the back. I bought it at The Oxfam Curiosity Shop in Selfridges last year. It used to belong to model Marie Helvin and I love it!

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