In 2009, Bruno Pieters was at the top of his game. He was the artistic director at Hugo by Hugo Boss and his namesake ready-to-wear and couture labels were receiving rave reviews from influencers like Suzy Menkes. But here’s the catch: He wasn’t happy. So in 2010, Pieters did the unthinkable. He left Boss, shuttered his labels and packed his bags for India.
“I remember there were days I would have 11 interviews set up for me at Hugo Boss,” Pieters told the Telegraph in 2013. “And if you are having a bad day, you sit there and say everything is wonderful — it’s like a robot, horrible. I didn’t want to end up on drugs or alcohol, which can happen very easily. The whole thing made me want to say this is not for me, this is not it.”
After a two-year, soul-searching sabbatical, Pieters launched a pioneering men’s and women’s brand, Honest by. The collections are limited-edition and collaborative — he continually partners with established as well as up-and-coming designers — and most importantly, they’re created with sustainably sourced and organic materials. But Pieters wanted to take it a step further. So, he supplied his consumers with as much information as possible, from where the fabrics originated and how much the garment cost to make to what he stands to profit. And just like that, he created a new paradigm for fashion and retail.
This year, we celebrated Pieters’ revolutionary business model by presenting him with our tFS Honorary Award for Ethical Fashion. Here’s what he had to say: “Thank you for this award! I am very honored theFashionSpot audience has thought of Honest by. When you do what I do, there will be many people who will support you, but there will also be those who will try to marginalize your efforts. I’d like to share this moment with everyone out there who is trying to make a difference by doing something different. Thank you, and keep up the good work.”
If you want to learn more about our 2014 ethical fashion winner, we’ve come up with 10 little nuggets to feast on.
- He’d “rather go naked” than wear unsustainable clothing.
- He’s vegan and doesn’t go to “random restaurants.”
- He cringes at the phrase “eco-fashion.” In his mind, fashion is fashion. Period.
- He’s a cat person. (Sorry, dog lovers!)
- When he shuttered his label in 2010, he donated most of the archives to MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp (and sold the rest off) to raise money for SISP, a children’s charity operating out of Southern India.
- He lives in a jaw-dropping penthouse home in Antwerp, where he color coordinates his bookshelf.
- In 2014, Pieters founded FFDS, the Future Fashion Designer Scholarship, a program that teaches young designers how to create in a sustainable and transparent fashion.
- He has a penchant for getting inked and even has a tattoo that covers most of his torso.
- He was headhunted for a LVMH-owned ethical fashion company, but turned it down because he didn’t want to live in New York.
- The worse the economy gets, the more he sells.