#CNILux Day 1: Hilary Swank’s Vision of Active Luxury
Alice Newbold, Vogue Daily Editor, reporting live from the CNI Luxury Conference in Lisbon
When two-time Oscar-winning actress and producer Hilary Swank couldn’t find the clothing that met her lifestyle needs (red-eye flights, red carpets, back-to-back meetings), she designed it herself. After years of perfecting the concept – a collection of supportive, luxury leisure wear for women, by women – Mission Statement was born in the autumn of 2016.
At the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, she told Suzy Menkes how she balances the technological advances in sportswear with luxurious comfort to give her business an edge in the ever-competitive active wear industry.
“I felt like myself and every modern-day woman, who does everything, didn’t have clothes that supported her and performed with her,” she explained. “Athleisure has gone as far as it can and it doesn’t feel ethical…. Customers can sense authenticity; it’s a universal language.”
It has taken the grit she shows on screen as an actor to get Mission Statement off the ground, but the language of an actor and a designer, she said, are surprisingly similar. “With TV you start with an idea, find someone to write a script and then get artisans to produce it – that analogy works with fashion.”
Swank has been selling her functional pieces for a year, and is still immersed in every single detail of her passion project: “I’m acting CEO and co-designer. I’ve been to every single factory (five in Italy and two in Portugal). I don’t have weekends, I have another day job, but I love working hard and collaborating with people who encourage me to think bigger.”
Her vision of a new woman is what motivates her, and it’s her own personal mission to break stereotypes: “You don’t have to compromise luxury and compromise performance.” It’s her goal to “make women feel confident to achieve their own mission statement”.
Her parting words, “We’re so infant!”, don’t sound like most other brands. “Infant”, to Swank, means launching shoes next summer, swimwear and accessories after that, and then menswear. “It needs to happen sooner rather than later,” she said of the Instagram DMs she receives from male fans asking her to branch out. But with her can-do charisma, there can be no doubt that men will soon be wearing Mission Statement.
The fourth annual Condé Nast International Luxury Conference is in Lisbon, on the 18th and 19th April. For more information, visit the website