Stella McCartney has always been a questioning designer. ‘How can we do things better?’ has been her guiding motto since the beginning. She leads by example and along the way has amassed huge knowledge and expertise in ethical fashion. If you want to know what best practice is or how innovation can sustainability intersect, look at Stella McCartney. What makes her great, as opposed to just good, is that she constantly pushes herself, her company, her suppliers and the industry to do better. We all benefit.
The unveiling of her SS21 collection had a holistic feel. Her digital show was shot in the sculpture garden at Houghton Hall in the Norfolk countryside, her models catwalked around the Anish Kapor, Rachel Whiteread and James Turrell pieces dressed in dip-dyed denim and draped jersey that is 100% organic. A bodycon element came from Stellawear, a new collection that is swimwear and shapewear all in one and is made from recycled plastic bottles and other nylons. Inspired by seeing people getting out there and exercising in parks during lockdown, McCartney made athletic dresses and cycling shorts from lace she had from previous collections. “They were swatches, samples, laces we’ve had left over in the warehouse, so we patch-worked them together into little athletic dresses. It’s repurposing, recycling, but I don’t think you’d honestly know. They’re limited edition; we’ll just use up what we have.”
McCartney – a skilled communicator – amplified her message with an Instagram sustainability manifesto. It takes the form of an A-Z; A is for Accountability, T is for Timeless, V is for Vegan. McCartney cleverly asked her famous artist friends, including Cindy Sherman to Jeff Koons and George Kondo, to illustrate each entry. The whole exercise comes packaged in McCartney’s signature positivity. She even included some party dresses in her presentation. “Everyone’s like, ‘don’t do eveningwear’,” said McCartney, “but for me, I definitely think there has to be optimism, we’ve still gotta get dressed up, we’ve gotta come out of this not wearing sweatpants. And we will come out of this.”
by Claudia Croft
Photography courtesy of Stella McCartney.