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Fashion & Trends, People

Stella McCartney Talks About Going Totally Sustainable

By Sofia Celeste 12 July 2018

MILAN, ITALY - Last month, we published an article (CLICK HERE) on why Stella McCartney, the world's most renowned eco-conscious brand, is too cool for Kering, after deciding to buy back the conglomerate's 50 percent stake and go forward on her own.

We caught up with the mother of four at her Milan release of her mens line, to ask her how she plans to turn her label into a 360 degree sustainable business.

The event, which hosted Milan's fashion elite and featured the live music of Cosmo Pyke included accessories with ethical slogans like “Suitable for Vegetarians.”

One of the first designers to implement cruelty-free materials and leather and fur alternatives into her upscale collections, StellaMcCartney is, today, one of the most prominent innovators in the world of sustainable fashion.

You even have your own department dedicated to innovation, technology, and sustainable manufacturing. You’re really spearheading the sustainability movement in comparison to your peers. What’s the next step for you? How can you become 360 degrees sustainable?

It’s always my goal. It’s always something I’m aiming towards. Really though, I try to encourage people to look at it from a 360 attitude. The consumer is critical, so you guys are as important as I am; and I’m also a consumer in how I eat, how I live my life. These are the conversations people need to bring into the fashion world – being the second most harmful industry in the world to the environment and you know we have to take that seriously.

On one side I want to create a product where people have no idea whether it’s a PVC shoe or an organic cotton shoe because it looks so stylish and it’s got the same quality of manufacture and make, but at the same time it’s a mindful approach as a business woman. I take it seriously that I’m in a position where I’m also running a business and employing people and I can make changes. This is my life’s choice, so I have to take it into my work.

The Stella McCartney company already has major partnerships with Eco Alter Nappa, an alternative leather created by using 5 percent vegetable oil, as well as Bolt Threads, a San Francisco-based biotech company that develops fibres from proteins found in nature, such as vegan silk created from yeast. Are there any new partnerships on the horizon?

We’re always working on that, we’re working on new technologies. For me, that’s where I sort of really have a lot of hope. They can answer a lot of our needs.

What are some of the most important new technologies that have come out and that have helped you?

It’s funny because it’s Stella McCartney and we have a whole department working on sustainability and we also are working in technological way ourselves every day. We’re trying to source viscose, rayon which is made out of trees. And every year 150 million trees are cut down. For three years, we looked at how to get tree sourcing from a sustainable forest and we did that ourselves. We worked intensely for years and we took it to the Italian mills, the best mills in the world and we asked them to weave with that quality of yarn. We just did a loop shoe that doesn’t use any glue, so obviously we don’t use any animal glue or fish glue. But we still have a type of glue. So, we’re always trying to push ourselves.

How are you sustainable within your stores and facilities?

We work with clean air labs, so we filtered all our air. We bring it into everything. We have ton of recycled materials in there; we’re looking at using waste and creating rocks to put in the dressing room. We actually took all our paper from work and shredded it and converted
it into papier-mâché and put it on our walls – which is like having fun with that but also creating alternatives that other people can use.

Fashion’s supposed to be about change, and it’s not about using the same 10 materials for the last 100 years.

Are your peers coming and asking you for ideas? I know it’s tough competition…

I embrace any change in that way, I don’t look at it as competition. I really embrace it and want to encourage it. I try and give as much knowledge as I’ve worked for far too long now on my own. I’d be very happy if other people would come and help me out.

Are they coming?

Not as fast and furious enough as I’d like, but if you guys keep talking about it then they will. I think the next generation of people expect transparency and a level of moral conduct in business and they expect an environmental approach that politicians can incentivize, but I have zero incentives. There’s a lot of work to be done and with you girls asking these questions and starting these conversations – it’s a massive start for the movement.

What brought you to Milan?

I haven’t been here in too long and I love it here, we work so closely with the Italians and the brand is such a big part of our family and to come here made perfect sense. I’m so happy to be part of fashion week. The collection’s spirit is so uplifting – it’s the season, spring!

Menswear is still new for you…

Yeah, we have only been doing it for few seasons, but it really feels like we’ve found our language. The conversation between the man and the woman is Stella and it makes perfect sense.

Why did you wait so long to do menswear, what did you find interesting about it now that you’re doing it?

For many many years people have been asking me: 'Will you do menswear? Please do menswear... I love what you’re doing for women’s please do that for men... I’m a vegetarian, I’m a vegan and I have a great love for tailoring but I can’t find what you do for women translated into mens...'

I sort of digested that for many years and the timing just never felt right but then one day I just went ‘Hey should we do that! Let’s do it!

 

 

 

Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY - Last month, we published an article (CLICK HERE) on why Stella McCartney, the world's most renowned eco-conscious brand, is too cool for Kering, after deciding to buy back the conglomerate's 50 percent stake and go forward on her own.

We caught up with the mother of four at her Milan release of her mens line, to ask her how she plans to turn her label into a 360 degree sustainable business.

The event, which hosted Milan's fashion elite and featured the live music of Cosmo Pyke included accessories with ethical slogans like “Suitable for Vegetarians.”

One of the first designers to implement cruelty-free materials and leather and fur alternatives into her upscale collections, StellaMcCartney is, today, one of the most prominent innovators in the world of sustainable fashion.

You even have your own department dedicated to innovation, technology, and sustainable manufacturing. You’re really spearheading the sustainability movement in comparison to your peers. What’s the next step for you? How can you become 360 degrees sustainable?

It’s always my goal. It’s always something I’m aiming towards. Really though, I try to encourage people to look at it from a 360 attitude. The consumer is critical, so you guys are as important as I am; and I’m also a consumer in how I eat, how I live my life. These are the conversations people need to bring into the fashion world – being the second most harmful industry in the world to the environment and you know we have to take that seriously.

On one side I want to create a product where people have no idea whether it’s a PVC shoe or an organic cotton shoe because it looks so stylish and it’s got the same quality of manufacture and make, but at the same time it’s a mindful approach as a business woman. I take it seriously that I’m in a position where I’m also running a business and employing people and I can make changes. This is my life’s choice, so I have to take it into my work.

The Stella McCartney company already has major partnerships with Eco Alter Nappa, an alternative leather created by using 5 percent vegetable oil, as well as Bolt Threads, a San Francisco-based biotech company that develops fibres from proteins found in nature, such as vegan silk created from yeast. Are there any new partnerships on the horizon?

We’re always working on that, we’re working on new technologies. For me, that’s where I sort of really have a lot of hope. They can answer a lot of our needs.

What are some of the most important new technologies that have come out and that have helped you?

It’s funny because it’s Stella McCartney and we have a whole department working on sustainability and we also are working in technological way ourselves every day. We’re trying to source viscose, rayon which is made out of trees. And every year 150 million trees are cut down. For three years, we looked at how to get tree sourcing from a sustainable forest and we did that ourselves. We worked intensely for years and we took it to the Italian mills, the best mills in the world and we asked them to weave with that quality of yarn. We just did a loop shoe that doesn’t use any glue, so obviously we don’t use any animal glue or fish glue. But we still have a type of glue. So, we’re always trying to push ourselves.

How are you sustainable within your stores and facilities?

We work with clean air labs, so we filtered all our air. We bring it into everything. We have ton of recycled materials in there; we’re looking at using waste and creating rocks to put in the dressing room. We actually took all our paper from work and shredded it and converted
it into papier-mâché and put it on our walls – which is like having fun with that but also creating alternatives that other people can use.

Fashion’s supposed to be about change, and it’s not about using the same 10 materials for the last 100 years.

Are your peers coming and asking you for ideas? I know it’s tough competition…

I embrace any change in that way, I don’t look at it as competition. I really embrace it and want to encourage it. I try and give as much knowledge as I’ve worked for far too long now on my own. I’d be very happy if other people would come and help me out.

Are they coming?

Not as fast and furious enough as I’d like, but if you guys keep talking about it then they will. I think the next generation of people expect transparency and a level of moral conduct in business and they expect an environmental approach that politicians can incentivize, but I have zero incentives. There’s a lot of work to be done and with you girls asking these questions and starting these conversations – it’s a massive start for the movement.

What brought you to Milan?

I haven’t been here in too long and I love it here, we work so closely with the Italians and the brand is such a big part of our family and to come here made perfect sense. I’m so happy to be part of fashion week. The collection’s spirit is so uplifting – it’s the season, spring!

Menswear is still new for you…

Yeah, we have only been doing it for few seasons, but it really feels like we’ve found our language. The conversation between the man and the woman is Stella and it makes perfect sense.

Why did you wait so long to do menswear, what did you find interesting about it now that you’re doing it?

For many many years people have been asking me: 'Will you do menswear? Please do menswear... I love what you’re doing for women’s please do that for men... I’m a vegetarian, I’m a vegan and I have a great love for tailoring but I can’t find what you do for women translated into mens...'

I sort of digested that for many years and the timing just never felt right but then one day I just went ‘Hey should we do that! Let’s do it!

 

 

 

Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

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