Designing for the greater good

In the past, a lot of people’s generic perceptions of eco-wear revolved around the idea of “hippie-wear.” But thanks to innovative designers and technological development within textile manufacturing, needless to say eco-conscious fashion today offers a variety of stylish goods.

Stella McCartney is a pioneering designer with her advocate approach toward sustainable fashion. Being born into a celebrity family, you automatically win in life. You are most likely to grow up amid a very privileged background, where money can buy you anything. However, despite being the daughter of a legendary musician, Stella’s upbringing was rather down-to-earth than one would expect from a typical rock star offspring. She spent most of her childhood living on a farm with the simple kind of life. Being surrounded by nature and animals, her countryside upbringing proved to be a great influence on her work. She not only raises awareness of global issues, such as the environment and animal rights, but also acts as an innovative thinker when it comes to developing alternative methods of creating a fashion product. Her garments consist mainly of natural fabrics such as cotton and silk and prohibit the use of real leather and fur.

Stella declares war on fur
During the early days of Stella’s career, her fellow peers within the fashion industry viewed her as “obnoxious” for espousing her views on animal rights. She thought there was no excuse for fur during modern times and regarded people in fashion as heartless for not caring about the cruelty involved in producing fur. So she decided to create a little exposé video in 2000 titled “Stella McCartney Fur Farm Exposed.” Obviously, her colleagues in the industry were not pleased at all. The video was produced by PETA and revealed scenes of foxes being deprived of proper care and cooped up in cages at a fur farm in the USA. Lack of food and water, injuries and cannibalism were among the depictions of suffering that were exposed on film. During the debut of her A/W 15 ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week, Stella sent models down the runway wearing show-stopping faux fur coats – elegant, shaggy, fury, but most importantly synthetic!

Knowledge is key
By providing guilt-free fashion, McCartney strives to create beautiful clothes as well as educate consumers, in the hopes of making a real difference in the world. In fact, fashion courses are aiming to increasingly feature sustainable practices throughout their curriculum. These may not necessarily advocate banning the use of fur all together, but rather provide insight into various issues such as how fur farms really treat their animals. Imparting the knowledge and offering a choice are key, because just how factories really mass-manufacture their goods is still a mystery. Indeed, Stella’s forward-thinking approach toward tackling environmental issues like these is something of which other designers should really take note.

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Fox from fur farm expose

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A/W 15 Stella McCartney faux fur coat

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Designer Stella McCartney

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