As one of the veteran names in sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney believes that the industry can become completely fur-free, and drives that message with a mockumentary.
From her collaboration with Adidas producing almost zero waste to convincing Kering executives to never use animal-derived materials while she was with Chloe, it’s clear that staying eco-friendly is important to Stella McCartney.
Since she’s known for her environmental activism and her namesake brand committed to sustainability and ethics, the British designer represented the fashion industry at this year’s G7 summit in Cornwall, England. The conference gathers some of the world’s most powerful leaders from seven of the most prominent and advanced economies in the world: Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The annual event tackles pressing global issues like climate change, and the leaders meet to agree on a coordinated action plan.
McCartney says that she’s honored to represent the fashion industry at the summit, and acknowledges that it’s one of the most polluting industries in the world. Her goal is to “drive change, encourage investments, and create a lasting difference through incentives supporting the next generation.”
“Animals are our equals”
Following her G7 summit goals for the industry, McCartney releases her pre-fall campaign to message that “animals are our equals.”
For over 20 years, Stella McCartney has been fur-free and anti-cruelty. However, it seems the comedic and seemingly light-hearted campaign of models walking around London wearing animal heads conveys the important idea that fashion brands can remain relevant without real fur and leather.
“I’ve always looked to humor to keep me sane and not take the world of fashion too seriously,” McCartney tells Vogue. “When you’re dealing with such an important subject as the ethical treatment of animals or the environment, sometimes you’ve got to lighten the touch and find positivity. Otherwise, the issues we are facing get really depressing.”
The 49-year-old adds that the campaign’s message may be uncomfortable to others. Some may even feel “defensive” about it. And so humor makes the messaging “easier to digest.”
In the nature mockumentary campaign shot by Mert and Marcus, you’ll see its cast in cartoonish animal heads living freely in Central London. Comedian David Williams performs the commentary as the “animals” engage in human activities, like reading the newspaper and using public transportation. William’s performance is playfully reminiscent of David Attenborough’s voice-over style in BBC’s Perfect Planet.
In support of her campaign’s message, McCartney believes that the fashion industry can become fur-free; it’s just a matter of if enough brands will. Encouraging luxury fashion consumers to engage with the cause can be an effective way to lead more brands to go fur-free. Then, when most of the market demands ethical products, more brands will follow suit, even if it’s only to be in step with the times.
The designer started an online petition with global animal protection charity Humane Society International (HSI). The movement goes toward banning fur sales in the UK.
As for what the models in bobbly animal heads were wearing, they’re in the brand’s “most sustainable collection to date.” Stella McCartney’s 2021 pre-fall collection offers everyday clothing and describes the set as “elevated performance” wear.
For example, the faux leather Falabella Chunky Chain Ballet Flats include style-forward gold chain hardware but are foldable so you can keep it in your handbag. Likewise, while the Melina coat looks like a piece made of premium mink fur, it’s vegan and made of “forest-friendly” viscose and organic cotton.
Forest-friendly, according to McCartney, means that the fabric used can be traced back to the certified forests in Sweden where they are sourced. She tells Vogue, “It should be illegal to cut down a tree without replanting one.”
With her experience of spearheading sustainability in fashion, McCartney hopes that the policies sparked by her involvement in the G7 summit will make a vital change. She presses that these policies can bring the world closer to being a cruelty-free society that’s kinder to “Mother Earth and each other.”