Vogue CS in English

Nicky Hilton: I try to lead a more sustainable lifestyle every day

Nicky Hilton Rothschild, great-granddaughter of American business magnate Conrad Hilton, launched her first sustainable footwear collection. This capsule collection, featuring nine pairs of eco-friendly ballerina flats and Spain-crafted loafers, is her fourth collaboration with French Sole. The collection was released on April 1st on Maison de Mode, a one-stop-shop for 80 sustainable brands founded by Hilton’s long-time friend, heiress Amanda Hearst, and on Frenchsole.com, Nickyhilton.com and Zappos.com. On April 17th Hilton also launched her first clothing collection for little girls, in collaboration with Dotty Dungarees. On sustainability, new collections, and future plans, Nicky Hilton spoke with Denisa Palsha in an interview for Vogue CS.  
Nicky, your new collection is eco-friendly and 100% sustainable! That’s a significant step forward. What made you decide to take go in this direction?
I know that sustainability has become a buzzword. But there is no secret how harmful the fashion industry can be to the environment. We all can do better to make the world the better place. I made a lot of changes in my lifestyle, too, and this collection was one of my steps toward this goal.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I consider myself pretty eco-conscious. I am not perfect, but I try to lead a more sustainable lifestyle every day - doing small things, like taking shorter showers, recycling, bringing reusable bags to the supermarket.  I’ve been buying less and only buying pieces that I love. I buy vintage and re-wear a lot my old timeless clothes, such as my classic DVF wrap dress that will never go out of style. My New Year’s resolution this year was to be less wasteful, to buy less and to re-use things more.
What did you learn through the process?
We use certified recycled and organic materials. The linings are microfibers. The soles are plant-based, and I found a special factory in Spain that specializes in sustainable materials. I partnered with one of my oldest friends, Amanda Hearst.  We were friends since we were babies. Amanda is a prominent figure on the forefront of sustainability and she taught me a lot. Her site Maison de Mode (where the collection is sold) emphasizes eco-friendly designs of 80 sustainable brands. She introduced me to my new favorite brands, too; Saint Roche and Amur have beautiful pieces and are good for the environment.
And you went the cruelty-free route. 
Yes. In fact, since April is Earth month, Amanda and I are dedicating 10% of proceeds to her animal welfare charity. I like to incorporate giving back in my business – guilt-free shopping.
Tell me about the pieces and inspiration….
I started by thinking of what I would like to wear. In the summertime, I live in cotton dresses, polo dresses and cut-off jeans, and I want something stylish yet comfortable to pair them with. I like to wear flats. I named pieces after significant women in my life - women that inspire me - such as ‘Amanda,’ an espadrille sneaker in stripes and tie-dye, or a classic, elegant piece, ‘Kathy,’ a best-seller named after my mother.
Foto: Victoria Stevens
Nicky Hilton
Foto: Victoria Stevens
Nicky Hilton
Foto: Victoria Stevens
Nicky Hilton
This was your fourth footwear collection, the first sustainable one. Do you plan to continue with sustainable design moving forward?
The collection for me was a small step in the right direction and going forward, I absolutely intend to use much more sustainable material. Everyone can and should do better.
Sustainable pieces tend to be more expensive. How did you make it work?
The pandemic changed customer behavior to buy less and to be more selective. It was important to me from the beginning of the collection’s development that we make it affordable. I chose fabrics that feel and look luxurious but are accessible. Pieces sell for $165.
What was your personal pandemic experience?  
Of course, we were all locked up too, but there was a silver lining through all this - I got to spend a lot of time with my family. Now I like to see that the world is slowly returning to normal, but I think it is forever changed. The way we shop, travel, eat…. and I am excited to see the world through this new lens. I think we will appreciate more things we used to take for granted. And we will be more selective in how we behave.
With your pre-pandemic jet-setter lifestyle, what will be your first big trip after we resume more international travel?
I look forward to going to London to my in-laws, my husband’s family, and to see my sister-in-law, Alice Rothschild.  She has a cute line Dotty Dungarees with adorable pieces and overalls for little girls ( 6 months – 7 years).  My daughters always loved it, which is a win for any parent.  Alice and I recently started to collaborate and on April 17 we launched my new Spring 2021 capsule collection available at dottydungarees.com and maisonette.com. This dreamy collection incorporates everything I love about spring style – the florals, the pastels, the light feminine touches – yet it’s comfortable, play-friendly and timeless. The collection is perfect for school days, birthday parties, the playground, vacation, or whatever travel your family has planned this spring.