At Leadership & Sustainability, we are very proud of our continually growing team and would love to introduce our newest member, our director of materials and products Bowie who strives to incorporate her knowledge and experience into our business.
Meet our Director of Materials and Products
Bowie Miles joined us this July as our new Director of Materials and Products. With over 20 years of experience in a variety of positions within the textile industry, she is proud to have built up a dependable portfolio of expertise and a great reputation. Sharing the same values as Leadership & Sustainability made this an easy transition for her.
Since studying BA Hons Textile Design at Leeds University and tackling the topic of LCA on clothing in 1997, she developed her passion, determination and interest in sustainability. Since then, an MSc in Textile Technology allowed her to combine her love of design and technology and begin the chapter of being curious about textiles. Her passion flourishes in making a positive impact, sharing that knowledge and continuous learning. Her textile experience, authentic personality and creative mindset will complement and add value to Leadership & Sustainability.
Want to know more about Bowie? Keep reading!
What sparked your interest and made you decide to work in the textile industry?
This answer is going to make me feel ‘old’, or should I say experienced! From the age of 13 when I was given the opportunity at secondary school to study textiles – I knew it was for me. I fell in love with the creativity, expression and the hands-on experience I got with creating silk screens and designs for printing to fabrics. My school and supportive art teacher gave me the chance to blend together Design and Sciences which would shape my future – to this day. I was inspired by the 19th-century textile designer William Morris, who was one of the first to bring together textiles with beautiful designs inspired by nature. He was the first one to really put flowers on the wall, to merge biology with art. Now, when I hear about biomimicry in design, and new biobased materials and technical solutions, I am once again inspired by the scope and depth of the industry and have a constant reminder of why I love textiles so much.
Can you tell me what way you plan to shape your new position to generate value for L&S and its customers?
I am really motivated to bring and share my passion and experience to the role and business. With a strong background in textiles from various stages in the chain, I aspire to transfer these to bring further value to my role and the company. I come with in-depth Material and Product experience from both sustainability and a Brand’s viewpoint. This will complement and build on the well-established Supply Chain and Strategy services we currently offer. My drive to learn and continuously improve, in combination with a positive energy will ensure that together, we deliver positive results to our clients. With my enthusiasm for innovation, creativity, and being a people person, I wish to look to the future, engaging with new clients, to where the company has full potential to progress into the Materials and Products area.
What would you say are your proudest achievements, either on a professional basis or a personal basis?
For me this really has to be a very personal achievement which has taken me on a rollercoaster journey. Being able to stand strong, be confident, smile with an open heart, and bring positive energy and fun into what I do is no easy achievement having the added ingredient of Vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition where white patches develop on the skin. It’s caused by the lack of melanin, which is the pigment in the skin. I developed Vitiligo when I was 6 years old. Beyond the medical description, Vitiligo knocks your confidence and more and goes deeper than just the surface of your skin. Today it is part of who I am, but not only who I am. I know my journey has made me stronger and more respectful of being unique in a positive manner. I also now enjoy that my special trait is so recognisable in our small textile industry and as people say ‘you never forget a face!’
How do you deal with challenges in the work environment and what advice would you give to people facing similar challenges?
I think life wouldn’t be fun unless you faced challenges, big or small! These make you reassess what is important in your life, and how willing you are to achieve and strive to accomplish them. We only grow from these situations. Either by succeeding or failing, you learn from both. Within the work environment, I enjoy being creative and looking for solutions from a different perspective. Even though this can cause some resistance, it is about weighing up the risks and taking the plunge. You won’t know until you have tried! So my advice would be to not give up. Believe in yourself and be brave. Find your own way that works for you and your character.
From your professional point of view, what would you say is the most crucial step that companies should be taking to improve their sustainability?
As consumers become increasingly sustainability savvy, brands and retailers will be sensitive to any potential greenwashing claims they make. I envisage this will change the way we will witness communication across the industry. In addition, collections which are claimed as ‘more sustainable’ will need to be verified by an independent organisation to ensure credibility. Going beyond the corporate goals and addressing the actual creation of products is next on the agenda. Building a closer synergy between the UN SDGs, corporate sustainable goals, manufacturing and selling is key and must be aligned throughout a company. Even to the point of extended producer responsibility.
This can mean taking steps in education about sustainability, identifying what is best for your company and collaborating to make small and successful steps forward. Sustainability is a huge umbrella. The first step could be to just take stock of what you have and make a realistic road plan. Create your vision, and a plan and then break it into achievable goals. We are all on the same path of shaping the future of sustainability. We are here to help and support you – and very much looking forward to it!
We at Leadership & Sustainability are very happy to have Bowie in our team and hope you enjoyed our interview with her – if so, feel free to leave a Like!
Karin & the team