While there is no shortage of celebrity fashion brands, the level of involvement of actors and influencers whose names appear on the labels varies widely. For every Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, whose critically acclaimed The Row collection is known for its luxurious minimalist pieces, there are hundreds more who simply pose for brands’ ad campaigns.
Kate Hudson wants to be a fashion player in an Olsen-twins kind of way. “The truth is, this is where I’m spending the bulk of my time,” Hudson said, referring to fashion. “It’s a very nice thing to be able to do. Fabletics [the ath-leisure brand Hudson cofounded] and Happy X Nature are two very different worlds and a great creative outlet. I think fashion is very similar to making movies in that you’re telling the story. The difference is that the business aspects are very different.”
Happy X Nature, Hudson’s responsibly sourced, environmentally friendly brand, on Wednesday will introduce occasion dressing with the launch of the eco-evening collection, an assortment of dresses and jumpsuits made from recycled materials, and priced from $98 to $298.
“I’m super excited about what’s coming to our eco-evening collection and everything we have ahead of us,” the actress said. “It’s been really interesting and fun and imaginative. A lot of the time, people in my position get asked to endorse products. That can be really fun. I wanted to take the opportunity to build a business that can be about change.
“I’ve never had an ambitious plan,” Hudson admitted. “I wanted to sing and dance and act, and I wanted to tell stories. I didn’t realize my storytelling would take me into fashion and other businesses. I also didn’t want to build a brand off of me. I’m starting to talk to all these different people, from beauty to vitamins to alcohol. I look at it and say, ‘That would be fun to do something there.’ I’m looking forward to building different businesses that exist on their own and are about conscious consumerism.”
The actress said she’s using her platform to set an example for other brands. “Affordable fashion is looking at how I like creating something that has a conscience,” she said. “It’s connecting with people and knowing that a lot of people want to look good, feel great and consciously be buying things that respond to their ethics. They’re responsible consumers.”
Happy X Nature is working to minimize its impact on non-renewable resources while doing its part to find solutions to plastic pollution and waste reduction by partnering with recycling leaders around the world. The brand increased the amount of recycled materials in the collections to 50 percent, from 20 percent.
“When we first launched Happy X Nature, [the discussion] about sustainability wasn’t as loud as it’s been right now and in the last couple of months,” Hudson said. “It’s been on everyone’s mind. There’s a dialogue going on in fashion with designers. Everybody is talking about how they can change the way they look at products and really move the needle. It’s being talked about at the higher price points. I’m hoping that more people in affordable fashion will start to change the way they’re designing and producing clothes.
“We’re looking to change the way people look at affordable clothes,” Hudson said. “We’re producing responsibly. We’re focused on creating a great statement piece with every garment. We approach designing like any other high-end collection. It’s a real challenge and it’s not an easy thing to do. We’re constantly learning.”
Hudson said she’s doing her part by working with mills and factories to create new clothing from plastic bottles. The brand plans to increase its use of responsibly sourced cotton and recycled options. Working with recycled materials not only reduces the amount of waste that’s sent to landfills, it also reduces the amount of energy and water needed to create recycled yarns. Happy X Nature ships customer orders in biodegradable bags that decompose within 12 to 18 months, and fabric tags are eco-friendly.
“When you’re in high fashion, you can do a lot more with natural fibers, etc.,” Hudson said. “I think people get scared about talking about sustainability, because if you’re not 100 percent [compliant]…. We should be talking about it and shouting from the rooftops. It will not happen overnight. I don’t care if they do one garment and it’s responsibly sourced. I don’t expect perfection from brands. What we want to do is shout from the rooftops that we’re doing all the things we can find to become more responsible with sourcing. Factories and financiers — we want them to get on board.”
A statewide ban on sales of fur in California was signed into law by the governor last week. Are the sustainability police going too far? “To be honest, if you’re really talking about moving the needle, then leather and red meat [should be considered],” Hudson said. “I’m a freedom person, I believe people should make the decisions. I’m not a vegan, but I’m also not a heavy meat eater. I believe in limiting meat for our health and environment. I don’t wear furs.
“Everybody should be looking at their carbon footprint in their stores,” Hudson said. “I love working with any recyclable yarn. When you work with recycled cotton, it’s very short yarn. We don’t want to rely on recycled plastic. How do we not use virgin polyester?
“I’ve been looking at my businesses,” Hudson added. “I look at it as if I’m no expert, but I really like hanging with [consumers] and being their eyes and ears — the artistic piece of the puzzle. My girls know my hands are on. I’m really loving Happy X Nature. I’m excited about my mission and I absolutely love fashion. I think it’s just a blast.”