Luke McCann’s mom was a hippie. He says he learned to do a lot with a little. That might be one reason he’s spearheading a line of menswear that embraces organic denims, all natural vegetable dyes, organic Italian cotton shirtings, organic cotton knits, korozo nut buttons, and small-scale production in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“Mottainai is about not wasting anything period..whether it be food, your time, your words, your money…a necessary, respectful almost lost way of life in a time of conspicuous consumption.” – Luke McCann
Mottainai is not 100% organic yet, but Luke is working towards that. The name Mottainai (moe tie nie) roughly translates from Japanese into “what a waste”, and can be used to describe when natural resources are squandered. The Japanese have folk tales of a Mottainai Ghost who comes after people who waste things to punish them.
I recently interviewed Luke about making clothes and making change. Here is our interview:
DB: What inspires you to create garments?
LM: To make clothes that are worthy to cover our bodies. We were frustrated with almost everything out there for young men and wanted to fill in the gap.
LM: Well, being born in Eureka, California to my healthy hippy mom definitely forced me to be environmentally conscious, all the time. Now, the word means what it has always meant to me. Someone who has a deep reverence for nature, and as a result, for themselves.
DB: What has the response been like to your “eco lux” collections so far?
LM: So far so good! Its not all peaches and cream but the reaction has been better than I predicted. A lot of people are very surprised and happy to see the use of eco-friendly fabrics and low-impact production methods coming from a younger, Brooklyn-based brand. The green movement will only get stronger with time and awareness.
DB: If destroying the earth isn’t making us happy, why do you think it’s still happening?
LM: To me its like when you see Wiley Coyote in the Loony Tunes falling off a cliff and then vanishing – only he doesn’t know he is falling. We think we are flying and everything is okay, but really we are falling, deeper and deeper into our demise. I think it will take a lot of educating and as sad as I am to say it, something very, very catastrophic may need to happen to really evoke change that will actually better our situation. Speaking of change, check this out: http://anz.theoildrum.com/node/4016
DB: What role can the fashion industry play in making sustainable = sexy?
LM: A leading one, if you create a eco-friendly brand, it must still be attractive, sexy, of great cuts, colors, lines, and texture. After visiting Premier Vision in Paris for the past 2 years, I have seen the Eco-lux textile industry explode and offer a lot of great products that at first, do not strike you as “eco-friendly”. So I think soon that will trickle down into the masses. But it may take a long time. Price is still a big factor.
DB: Is fashion more than just clothes and accessories?
LM: No not really, fashion is what is offered, fashion fades, fashion and vanity is what some believe to be the destruction of the soul. I think Style on the other hand, is eternal and unique to the man/woman, and as important as the feathers on a peacock or the mane on a lion.
DB: What is your opinion on animals exploited for clothing and fibers?
LM: Well that’s obvious, animals should never be exploited. Was it Ghandi who said something like you can learn everything about a country by looking at how they treat their animals? I think it sad, tragic, and evil what happens everyday to animals in terms of profits. However, if the animal is honored, the food and products are appreciated and used as nourishment or protection, then we maintain that balance that is missing from our society.
DB: Fill in the blank: In a perfect world_______
LM: …bill collectors lose their voice and have to call in to work sick everyday.
LM: Our inability to prepare for a better future…and also family life and healthy social living has been destroyed over the past century…but it’s not too late to bring change.