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Stella McCartney: Fashion and Sustainability


Alessandra Lolli

Stella McCartney was one of the first designers in the fashion business to embrace a sustainable attitude in her business model – from the production to the final collections.

“For every piece in every collection, I am always asking what have we done to make this garment more sustainable and what else can we do. It is a constant effort to improve…”

The company is always looking for new ways to be more sustainable as it feels responsible for the resources it uses and the impact its activities have on the planet. This sense of responsibility and forward thinking is present when they design their collections, when they manufacture the clothes and even when they open new stores.

Responsible Business

All Stella McCartney stores, offices and studios in the UK are powered by wind energy and abroad, they use renewable energy to power their stores and offices not to mention that 45% of their operations are run on 100% renewable, green energy. Equally interesting, in Stella McCartney‘s collections, they use as much organic cotton as possible and continue to do research to find new materials and new ecological processes.

Recycling is one of the key points of this company’s philosophy. In 2012, 34.3 metric tons of waste was diverted from landfill and recycled or reused – they recycle all textiles that could be used. Moreover, all Stella McCartney locations have recycling systems.

And when it comes to get involved in green projects, Stella McCartney did not hesitate to take part on the Natural Resource Defense Council NRDC Clean by Design Programme, becoming the first company of luxury goods to contribute to such initiatives. Clean by Design, “focuses on improving process efficiency to reduce waste and emissions and protect the environment”.

Textile manufacturing has a big environmental footprint, it pollutes around 200 tons of water per ton of fabric using many harmful chemicals, and consuming enormous amounts of energy for steam and hot water. This programme aims to reduce the use of water (about 25%) and energy (about 30%).

Stella McCartney: Fashion And Sustainability
Black Jacket / Black shirt in silk/ Paper Short in organic cotton/ Plexi Black Shoes/ Gold Falabela in faux leather
Stella McCartney: Fashion And Sustainability
Flower dress/ Yellow Falabella in faux leather/ Yellow shoes in cotton

Fashion and Sustainability

“I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment.”

“It’s really the job of fashion designers now to turn things on their head in a different way, and not just try to turn a dress on its head every season. Try and ask questions about how you make that dress, where you make that dress, what materials you are using.”

“I think that is far more interesting, actually. I think that the way to create sustainable fashion is to keep asking these questions while making sure to make desirable, luxurious, beautiful clothing and accessories that women want to buy.”

Among the Stella McCartney eco-friendly productswe can find asustainable eyewear collectionmade from over 50% natural and renewable resources using raw materials from natural origins such as castor-oil seeds and citric acid;the biodegradable solesmade from a bioplastic called APINAT, which will degrade when placed in mature compost and the beautifullingerie line, which uses recycled metal for hardware and organic cotton for the gussets.

These are just a portion of all the activities and initiatives undertaken by Stella McCartney. Undoubtedly, this is a very good example for the fashion industry, which unfortunately doesn’t always comply with such ethical practices. I hope that many other designers and established companies will follow her example in the years to come!

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