If anyone had any doubts about vegan designer Stella McCartney’s commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly, cruelty-free fashion, her latest show in Paris Fashion Week puts all of these to bed. Not only did the designer’s models showcase faux leather boots and fur-free coats, but they also sported statement vegan tattoos.
Applied by influential British makeup artist Pat McGrath, the temporary tattoos — added to the model’s necks, fingers, and ear lobes — spelled out a number of slogans, such as “earth day every day,” “vegan,” “fur-free fur,” and “regenerate.” McGrath told Vogue, “it’s simply Stella.”
Being simply Stella means seeking out sustainable answers for everything fashion-related. Since it’s inception, her self-titled brand has been vegetarian. But with her latest ready-to-wear collection, the influential designer — and daughter of activist and Beatle Paul McCartney — has really outdone herself, according to Vogue.
The designs included garments made from sustainably-sourced viscose — taken from certified Swedish forests — paper clip earrings, and rubber band necklaces.
“Stella McCartney is an industry leader on [the subject of sustainability] — has been for years,” the leading style magazine noted on the day of the show. “But she’s never foregrounded her initiatives on the runway quite like she did today.”
Shaping the Future of Fashion
McCartney isn’t alone in helping to create a kinder, more sustainable fashion industry. In the last 12 months, a number of designers have pledged to drop fur, mohair, angora wool, and exotic skins from their collections.
The designer hopes that, in the future, more brands will apply the same ethics that made them drop these materials, to the leather industry. Last month, she debunked the myth that leather is a natural, more eco-friendly alternative to its synthetic counterparts.
Speaking to Vogue, she explained, “An animal decomposes when it’s natural, but after all the chemical treatments [applied] to a leather handbag, it isn’t going to decompose in your wardrobe. That product is staying alive because of the chemicals that have been put on it.”
Whilst she is pleased with the progress made by other designers in her field, she maintains that it isn’t enough, and there is more to be done to create a truly cruelty-free sustainable industry.
“It’s a good message, but [those statements] can feel a little throw-away,” she added. “If you really mean it, stop using leather, full stop, and then you’ll see a massive, massive change in the industry’s environmental impact.”