Sustainable fashion isn't simply about the make up and manufacturing of a product, it's a 360 degree approach to working towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. The world is becoming more aware of the need to protect our planet for future generations - alongside issues such as climate change, sustainability in the fashion industry has become a hot topic in the last year, with brands facing increasing pressure to reduce their impact on the environment, from the goverment and consumers alike.
Stella McCartney has been consciously creating sustainable luxury fashion for over two decades. Her Summer 2020 collection is her most sustainable yet - 75% of which is made from zero impact fabrics like Econyl and recycled polyester, with the remaining percentage designed using organic cotton and upcycled denim.
We were honoured to speak with esteemed fashion designer and leader of the sustainable fashion movement, Stella McCartney to discuss first hand how she strives towards sustainability.
You’re known as the leading designer in the sustainable fashion movement. What inspired you to begin this challenge of being as environmentally conscious as possible?
My parents have been big inspiration to me on every level. Their way of life inspired me. My mother had a self-confidence and independence that’s always influenced me. They always taught us to be true and to stand up for the things I believe in. It’s been engrained in me to have a respect for fellow creatures and to be mindful of how one approaches life, so it was a no-brainer for me to take that into the way I conduct myself in business.
Do you find it difficult to create such innovative designs each season, while considering the environmental impact?
We aren’t perfect, and we recognise that, like all businesses, we are part of the problem, but we are pushing boundaries every day to find solutions that do exist in an industry desperately in need of change. Innovation is at the core of everything we do at Stella McCartney and something we continue to focus on to ensure we are creating products that are kind to our planet. I’m very proud to say that our Summer 2020 Kids collection was one of our most sustainable kids collections to date with over 75% of the collection being made from sustainable materials including organic cotton, sustainably sourced viscose and recycled polyester and nylon. This season I wanted to celebrate those strong-hearted kids who care about the future of our planet, and is reflected in the materials used and the print slogans such as ‘Love More’, ‘Green fingers’ and ‘Be Kind To Each Other’.
Similarly, what challenges do you face when trying to balance costs vs ensuring all your materials are safe for the planet?
To create a product that ticks all the boxes costs money. That’s another conversation that needs to be had. There’s no guidelines, there’s no real policy set in place for the fashion industry, and thus there is a cost that is paid by someone like me who wants to ensure the materials I use are kind to the planet. The government doesn’t incentivise me, for example I can be taxed 30 percent more just bringing a non-leather good into the Untied States. I’m actually punished for trying to conduct myself better in the business of fashion, however I’m not going to go against my beliefs and ethics to save money.
Where do your main inspirations come from for your designs?
I find inspiration all around me… but some of my biggest memories as a four- or five-year-old were of sitting in my parents wardrobe, and what was fascinating was I realised my mum and dad shared it. There was this absolute androgyny. It was this period of glam rock, during Wings. Half the things I assumed were mum’s, dad was actually wearing as well. They would swap. I’ve since worn a flowery shirt out of the archive, and been like, ‘Oh look at this blouse of my mum’s, it’s so cool!’ And then we’d find a photo of my dad wearing it. It’s so modern; this was years ago, but today it’s a cutting edge conversation to have. So I guess this upbringing and being around clothes from a very young age was a huge influence on me and has heavily inspired how I work and are a definite inspiration to my collections today.
For sustainable products in mini-me styles, shop our latest Stella McCartney Kids collection here
Designer Interview | Hackett London
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