Stella McCartney is one of the most outspoken designers when it comes to the use of animal skins and furs in luxury fashion. The British designer has been a lifelong vegetarian and doesn’t use any leather or fur in her collections.
On Monday, McCartney continued her crusade against the use of these products during a sustainability talk at the London College of Fashion that was hosted by her parent company Kering, which helped launch McCartney’s line in 2001. McCartney explained that she encountered many skeptics at the outset, many of whom believed she’d never have a successful business — particularly in accessories — if she didn’t use leather. Fifteen years later, it seems McCartney has proved them wrong. So how does she balance sustainability and style?
“The kind of effortlessly cool or the fashionable side always had to go hand-in-hand with the responsible,” McCartney says of her brand. “Fashion is one of the more harmful industries on the planet, and I think people are a little more aware of that now.”
McCartney isn’t afraid to be brutally honest when it comes to her opinion on the use of animal products in fashion. “I find the fashion industry, on the whole, is pretty old-fashioned. There is no reason to kill over 15 million innocent creatures. It’s so un-glamorous. It’s such a gross industry.”
Kering’s use of python farms was also brought up in the conversation. “I’m sure these guys will give up python farms very soon,” McCartney said.
She continued: “I believe firmly that no human should suffer in fashion, and the planet shouldn’t, either. Fashion is literally getting away with murder.”
McCartney’s advice to consumers is to ask questions. “Look at how you’re living your life and how it affects the environment.” While the price point of McCartney’s line might not be attainable for some, the designer says despite the fact that it can sometimes cost 70 percent more to manufacture non-leather products, they “don’t put that on the customer.”