Nicky Hilton Rothschild just launched her first sustainable, vegan shoe collection.
Rothschild, the great-granddaughter of the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain Conrad Hilton and sister to socialite and businesswoman Paris Hilton, has loved fashion for as long as she can remember. Her relationship with style began with dressing up as a little girl and never really faded. In fact, it intensified.
“I always knew that I wanted to do something in fashion,” Hilton tells LIVEKINDLY. “Whether that be to work in a clothing store or for a fashion magazine. I love the art and the beauty of it.”
Rothschild released her first clothing line, the teen-focused Chick by Nicky Hilton, in 2004, which landed in Macy’s and Nordstrom. She was clearly bit by the fashion design bug, launching new clothing lines, handbags, and even a jewelry line. In 2014, she released the book 365 Style, a comprehensive guide to dressing well and having your own personal style with only six staple items in your wardrobe.
In late 2019, she stepped into footwear with Nicky Hilton x French Sole, a collaboration between the heiress and the New York City-based boutique, French Sole.
Now, the pair have launched their fourth footwear line. And, it’s the first one to feature sustainable materials. The new collection features four vegan shoe styles (and nine pieces altogether if you include color options), featuring sneakers, ballet flats, and loafers made with reused materials.
Fashion’s ‘Alarming’ Impact on the Planet
As a lifelong fashion enthusiast, Rothschild describes the moment when she realized how big the industry’s impact on the planet really is.
“It’s no secret how harmful the fashion industry is to the environment. And you know, I remember reading that a nonbiodegradable garment can take anywhere from 20 to 200 years to decompose. That’s so alarming,” she recalls.
Polyester, a common fiber used in garments derived from petroleum, is the culprit that Rothschild is talking about. At best, it breaks down in 20 years and at worst, it’ll be around for 200 years. And according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the textiles industry has been identified as a major source of ocean plastic pollution by way of microfibers, tiny fragments that are shed during the production phase or when you wash your clothes. It’s one of the many devastating consequences of our obsession with fast fashion. Additionally, the global fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s really pretty startling information. And I’ve wanted to work on a sustainable collection for a while now. And I wanted to make sure that the shoes were made out of a combination of certified recycled materials,” says Rothschild.
Using recycled material is a step in the right direction.
Recycled Marine Plastic and Sustainable Fashion
The new Rothschild x French Sole collection features materials like recycled polyester, Sequal yarn (made from post-consumer plastic and upcycled marine plastic), recycled cotton and linen, and organic cotton. The shoes are also free from animal-based materials, making them vegan. “We worked with a factory in Spain that specializes in sustainable materials,” Rothschild adds.
The practice of reusing materials is part of a circular fashion economy, which utilizes post-consumer materials and minimizes the need for virgin resources.
The sustainable vegan shoe collection is available exclusively through Maison de Mode, a luxury ethical fashion retailer co-founded by Rothschild’s lifelong friend, Amanda Hearst, heiress to the mass-media conglomerate, Hearst Communications.
“I’ve really admired that work. Amanda has done highlighting sustainable fashion brands. Over the last few years, she’s actually introduced me to some of my favorite sustainable brands, like St. Roche and Amur,” says Rothschild. “Amanda has used her platform to highlight all of these incredible, sustainable brands and I couldn’t think of a better partner to launch this collection with.”
Make Every Day a Little More Sustainable
Rothschild’s personal favorite from the collection is the Amanda, an espadrille that comes in striped or colorful tie-dye styles. “I’ve been wearing the striped ones with jeans and a simple button-down. And the tie-dye one with pretty floral dresses. They’re just very easy to style. And very comfortable. We have extra padding in them to make sure they’re comfortable.”
The Hilton heiress also adopted habits to make her daily life a little more sustainable. “I’m not perfect, but I try to do my part by taking shorter showers, turning the lights off in empty rooms, and I’m a big recycled. I definitely bring my own bags to the market. And I buy vintage fashion. This year, my New Year’s resolution was to buy less and reuse. We just don’t need all this stuff.”
Most recently, Rothschild used her platform to talk about Seaspiracy, a new Netflix documentary that talks about the seafood industry’s environmental impact. “@seaspiracy on @netflix is a must-see! Learn about the devastating crisis going on in our oceans,” she Tweeted to 683k followers.
Seaspiracy has gained traction for its harrowing look at the global fishing industry. But, fashion and its reliance on plastic fibers has done damage to the environment, too. A 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that textiles are a primary source of ocean microplastic pollution, accounting for 34.8 percent of releases.
The sustainable Nicky Hilton x French Sole collection is now available to purchase on Maison de Mode.
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