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Stella McCartney stands for sustainable fashion like no other designer. The daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney is a committed vegetarian and lets these beliefs speak trough her work: her eponymous brand states to have never used- and never will use- leather or fur.

Words By Marina Hoyer


When Beatles-singer Paul McCartney married his wife Linda, it was a match made in heaven. The two vegetarians have always stood up for animal rights and supported numerous campaigns by PETA and the likes. When the Beatles split up, the couple moved to a secluded Scottish farm, where they took care of various animals, such as sheep or horses. But their own activism is not the only mark they have left on this world: Their daughter Stella has embraced her parents’ legacy and has made herself a name as one of the most sustainable and ethical designers in luxury fashion.

“We are committed to always being responsible, honest and accountable today, with a positive impact on people, the planet and all its creatures so that we can protect it for tomorrow,” Stella McCartney states on their official website. The brand prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and explains: “Our sustainable vision is guided by and accountable to our bold values – making every action count, inspiring trust and celebrating life. We are change agents; we are activists. We stand up and speak up for Mother Earth, our fellow animals and in solidarity with all humans. “

But which concrete steps has Stella McCartney taken to commit herself to a sustainable approach?

Being a vegetarian herself, Stella McCartney fully refrains from using any animal products in her collections. Since her eponymous brand’s launch in 2001, the label Stella McCartney has not used a single animal product in their clothing. Indeed, it is fully free from leather, skin, fur or feathers and states firmly that this will not change in the future either.

As the next steps, the British label implemented more sustainable practices. In 2008, Stella McCartney started using organic cotton and two years later, fully abandoned PVC. Over the years, they banned further materials, such as angora, mohair and virgin cashmere, and instead introduced their own sustainable alternatives like bio-acetate, sustainable viscose, sustainable microsilk, regenerated nylon, regenerated cashmere, mushroom leather, vegan fur and many more. But the brand’s commitment is not limited to animals’ rights only. Stella McCartney has also banned plastic water bottles, only uses certified sustainable paper and cardboard packaging, and has been using solar panels and LEDs in their stores since 2013.

With some of her classics, like the vegan Adidas Stan Smith, or the famous vegan leather Falabella bag, Stella McCartney has clearly paved the way towards sustainability in luxury fashion. The designer continuously looks for new ways to improve her brand’s environmental footprint and regularly develops innovative techniques and materials. An example is the Eco Alter-Nappa, a cruelty-free leather alternative made from polyester, polyurethane and a coating that contains more than 50% vegetable oil.

The fashion house also regularly assesses its environmental impact and has even developed a tool that goes beyond standard reporting measures. With the so-called EP&L (Environmental Profit and Loss), Stella McCartney analyses their greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, water consumption, waste and changes in ecosystem services associated with land use change. They do not only take into account their own operations, but also analyse all of their supply chains.

In honour of Earth Day on 22 April 2021, Stella McCartney released a sustainable capsule collection. The designs are inspired by vintage activism and support the Greenpeace’s Act for The Amazon campaign by raising awareness and through donations.

With many luxurious brands still not putting sustainability at the top of their priority list, Stella McCartney is a wonderful role model that will hopefully inspire other established designers as soon as possible.

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