Style Stories and Some Fun Facts with Dan Pontarlier

Welcome to the second instalment in my new Lockdown style-focused interview series, which highlights some of my wonderful friends in the ethical and sustainable fashion space! 

Next up in the style hot seat we have sustainability expert, professor, model for conscious brands and my good friend: Dan Pontarlier. In this interview, I chat to Dan about his style evolution, fashion faux pas and favourite sustainable brands. Enjoy!

Dan Pontarlier Interview with Roberta Lee on sustainable style and fashion | Model for conscious brands

Dan, for those who don’t know you, can you give us a quick intro to who you are, and what you do?

I’m a consultant in Sustainability for the Fashion and Hospitality industries, and I’ve worked in several European countries as an Associate Professor for business schools. My focus is sustainability in fashion, lifestyle and tourism, trying to approach the term to the people less concerned about it.

Let’s jump right in! What does fashion mean to you?

For me it’s definitely self-expression: Is a way that we have to communicate our values and our style. Appearance is the first thing you see of a person and it has to match the personality.

What’s your style story? How would you describe your style evolution?

I’ve jumped into many different styles along the years… When I was really young it was maybe to fit in with society. Afterwards, maybe because of a rebellion, I was always trying to look different, to do something that the rest were not doing… it the end you realize that you have to look for your own style, accept your quirkinesses in case you have, and never let ANYTHING limit your creativity. Today I think I have my own style: first, I wear many things that don’t exist because I confectioned them or because I made them be confectioned for me, and then because I had to adapt the things that I’m wearing to my body art, which as to be in line with what I’m wearing – even though that doesn’t mean I am limited–.

Dan Pontarlier | Modelling a sustainable and upcycled outfit
Dan Pontarlier rocking his kimono-cape!

What’s your favourite outfit and why?

A long Asian-inspired kimono-cape that I have and a suit that I upcycled myself that I call the HiveSuit

How many items do you think you own in your wardrobe?

Too many… But because I don’t like to throw anything and I wait for the perfect opportunity to mix two things up and create something new that I’m going to wear the hell out of it. For example, I might have 17 jackets, 5 of them waiting to be upcycled, and I’m waiting to find the perfect fabric scraps –or maybe other piece of clothing that I won’t use anymore– to make them the way I want. In fact, for many of them I already have the drawings.

What’s your most worn item?

A high-waist –but like, really high, up to my breastbone– pant that is 25 years old. No kidding. It was an avant-garde piece when it came out in the 90s and it was initially bought by my brother-in-law. My mother-in-law gave it to me and I fell in love with that piece since the very beginning. It’s not just comfortable, it’s also edgy but classy… it can be used in many different ways!

Dan Pontarlier | Pure London Fashion Show 2020 | Ethical and Sustainable Suit and Shirt
Dan Pontarlier looking dapper in his striped grey suit!

Have you had any fashion faux pas moments that you’d like to forget?

Hahahahaha… Yes, I think we can skip all my pictures from my 12 to my 17th years old… I went through sooooo many different phases… rock, punk, goth, hippie…. it was like an urge to try it all!

Are there any fashion trends that you love or hate?

Is not a trend, but a thing… Caps. I can’t with caps. Give a hat, a headpiece or even a pot plant to put in my head before a cap. The reason why… I don’t have a reason, it’s just not visually appealing to me. I just don’t see them behind baseball.

What was the last item you introduced to your wardrobe?

An awesome shirt by Oísin that I cannot wait to try out with a pant that I’m doing myself.

Have you ever participated in a clothing swap? And if yes what’s the best item of clothing you’ve found?

Not yet! When I buy an item is because I’m attached somehow to it. For me, clothes are a bit alive. If time goes by, my attachment to that piece increases… That is why I prefer to upcycle, because the story will still be there, and it’s even going to be better, because it’s a piece for me, exclusively. Also, I really believe that things do not go out of fashion, it’s just how you wear them…

Dan Pontarlier | Sustainability Consultant and Professor | Ethical Grey Suit, Shirt and Bag
Dan Pontarlier – and who said sustainability can’t be stylish?!

Do you shop for vintage pieces? And if yes, what’s the best item of clothing you’ve found?

Whenever I have shopped vintage, which is not too much, unfortunately, I have used it to upcycle other items.

Who are your top 3 ethical or sustainable fashion brands?

Sylvia Calvo – Stylish, different, unique pieces. 

Dante Men – They have a concept for menswear that I love.

Vivienne Westwood – Impossible not to love them.

Now, for some fun – please share with us 1 interesting fact that people may not know about you

When I started my first degree, it was in Chemistry because I wanted to become a Biochemist. Now look at me…

And, if someone was to play you in a movie who would it be and why?

Ian Somerhalder. Why? Well… I mean… Who wouldn’t like to have a hands-I mean WISE man like him playing your character in a film!? Plus, he’s shown his commitment to sustainable fashion so: win-win. 🙂

I really hope you found the interview interesting, please do connect with Dan over at:

Instagram: @dpontarlier

Twitter: @dpontarlier

Stay tuned for the next lockdown interview, coming soon x


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