Stella McCartney has taken great strides (vegan leather sneaker strides, at that) in the world of sustainable fashion, placing her far ahead of other luxury designers.
The fashion industry is currently one of the leading polluting industries in the world. Many designers are choosing to ignore this ever-rising problem due to the intimidating connotation of “sustainable fashion;” there is a fear that by achieving sustainability, designers would be forced to sacrifice the style and elegance of their brand. Additionally, designers believe that their clientele value garments far above their environmental impact. Although that belief may have held true in the past, with the rise of environmentally conscious business, the world is attracted to designers like Stella McCartney who elevate their beautiful items by incorporating sustainable production methods.
As a lifelong vegetarian, Stella McCartney’s clean eating habits (the ones for which we all strive) began while growing up on an organic farm; consequently, her lifestyle choices have had a tangible and direct influence on her impressive luxury brand. Building her brand in a sustainable way was non-negotiable. Staying true to her English countryside roots, Stella McCartney has been committed to producing sustainable garments, and has been able to do so without losing touch of her impeccable style, from the launch of its earliest designs in 2001.
The most accessible example of McCartney’s mission is her collaboration with Adidas. McCartney proudly describes this collaboration as a “fantastic marriage of technology, sports performance, and fashion.” Their joint production consisted of sustainable materials like recycled yarn and organic cotton. Adidas also incorporated a DryeDye technology into the production of these items that used no water to dye clothing. Arguably the most impressive item resulting from the collaboration designs between Adidas and Stella McCartney is a beige-colored sweatshirt known as the “infinite,” that is 100% sustainable. McCartney and Adidas were able to produce such an item by using 95% of the fabric from the fabric-cutting step, and recycling or repurposing the remaining 5% of fabric. According to McCartney, this hoodie demonstrates that repurposed fashion is not only viable but can also change the environmental face of fashion.
Though only fifty “infinite” sweatshirts were produced, McCartney has plans to bring them into full production (and yes, you will definitely want one).
McCartney and Adidas renewed their decade-long partnership through 2020 due to its immense success. An Environmental Profit & Loss account in 2016 for Stella McCartney, a report putting a monetary value on the environmental costs and benefits of the business, was roughly $7.5 million based on direct operations across the entire supply chain.
It is evident that McCartney has been able to successfully reinvent what sustainability means in luxury wear, thus lending her a seemingly inimitable and valuable competitive advantage over other designers. Not only are the resulting pieces sustainable, but the business practices creating them are as well.
Stella McCartney hopes to be paving the way towards a future of sustainable, luxury fashion. One thing is for certain: she has put hard and inspirational work into her brand. It is no surprise that she recently exclaimed to be “off [her] tits on coffee.” If her sales are any indication, her fans will gladly keep her caffeine fix well supplied. Keep going, Stella, the fashion world is ready and waiting!