Stella McCartney’s Vegan Odyssey
Ethical fashion pioneer and LVMH sustainability advisor Stella McCartney aspires to transform Fashion — from the inside. “We are a vegetarian company, which means no animals are killed for our products. None of our products contain leather, feathers, fur or exotic skins — and none of the glues used in our shoes or bags come from animals”, she explains on her website. “None of our products are tested on animals. All our fragrances are vegan friendly, which means that no ingredient is tested in animals or comes from animal origins, including bees. Since 2010, Stella McCartney products have been PVC free. Following a PETA campaign in 2013 highlighting the plight of angora rabbits, we committed to stop all future use of angora in Stella McCartney products.”
CONSISTENT SUPPORTER OF ANIMAL RIGHTS
McCartney became interested in designing clothes since the tender age of thirteen. Three years later, she interned for Christian Lacroix, working on her first haute couture collection. A lifelong vegetarian, McCartney does not use any leather or fur in her designs. Those familiar with fashion designer Stella McCartney are aware that she brought a conscience to the fashion industry as the first luxury house to never use leather, feather, fur or animal skin. A lifelong vegan, McCartney has always been outspoken about the environmental damage of processing leather, often requiring toxic chemicals. In fact, The Guardian describes her as “a consistent and vocal supporter of animal rights.”
Per Vogue, “McCartney, a vegan herself, has spent the past 20 years insisting that changing our shopping habits are similarly urgent. The ways we consume food and fashion are not so different… She has said time and time again that the fur and leather industries are the worst offender, and is not shy about disputing the party line that leather is “better” than faux alternatives because it is “natural.” “The fur body has spun this story that fake fur is more harmful to the environment [than real fur], but that is not the case. It is actually 20 percent less harmful”, she said. “And [real leather] kills animals, which no one seems to want to talk about anymore.”
Move over slogan tees! Stella McCartney proved her commitment to sustainable, cruelty-free fashion in her 2019 showing at Paris Fashion Week. Not only did the models showcase faux leather boots and fur-free coats, they sported vegan tattoos!! Applied by makeup artist Pat McGrath, the temporary tattoos spelt out a number of slogans such as “vegan” and “regenerate.”
Committed to not compromising on either desirability or sustainability, McCartney introduced plant-based biodegradable shoe soles in 2012 and recently worked closely with the team of Bolt to develop and scale its most promising plant-based textile innovation, Mylo, grown from mycelium, the underground root of a mushroom. Last season, she formed a consortium with Kering, Adidas and Lululemon to invest in the development of Mylo and it seems her efforts paid off. The first Mylo garments — black leather-lookalike bustier and pants — is a runaway success!!
“These rare, exclusive Mylo pieces embody our shared commitment with Bolt Threads to innovate a kinder fashion industry — one that sees the birth of beautiful, luxurious materials as opposed to the deaths of our fellow creatures and planet”.
STELLA McCARTNEY AUTUMN ’21
Stella McCartney’s Autumn 2021 collection focuses on animal care and sustainability. The brand claims they have seen animals return to global cities as human activity decreased over the last year and urge everyone to work towards a future where animals can live freely and in their rightful place among humans. To compound this, Stella McCartney Autumn ’21 is in collaboration with Human Society International (HSI) and Human Society of United States (HSUS), aspiring to create a fur-free fashion society.
The brand’s Autumn ’21 campaign too compounded the message: “Animals are our equals”: models dressed in autumn apparel wearing soft toy animal heads and roamed the streets of London… a testament to the fact that the fashion brand has been leather and fur-free for twenty years. “All of our nylon and polyester is recycled, and all our bags—including the Frayme, which we are launching this season—are vegan and have aluminium chains that can easily be recycled”, she told Vogue. “Every year, 150 million trees are cut down to make fabric—our dresses are made from forest-friendly viscose, which can be traced back to certified forests in Sweden—no ancient or endangered forests are destroyed…”
“The concept of the campaign was about animals reclaiming urban areas that have been taken away from them without any consideration. During lockdown, aeroplanes weren’t flying, fewer cars were on the road and some of us were lucky enough to get out of the city; we could hear the birds singing. There was respect for nature living alongside us, which we’re normally too busy to acknowledge…”
THE ROAD AHEAD
Stella McCartney made a pitch at G7 that government regulators and policy-makers must stop giving fashion a pass. Instead, the Fashion industry should be treated like any big heavily polluting industry, with tough regulations and strong incentives to reduce environmental impact. “There needs to be policies set in place to police our industry. Certainly the industry has fallen short … left to its own devices.” Following on from the G7, she is working with fifteen fashion brands in a task force convened by the Prince of Wales Sustainable Markets Initiative.
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.