Vegan, designer, and activist Stella McCartney hopes that one day the fashion industry will be free of leather clothing and accessories.
In the past few months, a number of high profile designer labels have ditched fur completely in a bid to appeal to the modern demand for cruelty-free fashion. Gucci was one of the first to do so last November; it was followed by Michael Kors, Versace, Belstaff, and most recently, Burberry. Even September’s London Fashion Week was completely fur-free. “I don’t think [using fur] is still modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that,” said Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri last year. “It’s a little bit out-dated.”
However, whilst ditching fur is a good start, it does not go far enough, claims McCartney. During Paris Fashion Week, the designer told the Associated Press that encouraging brands to ditch leather will be a larger battle than getting them to ditch fur. However, in doing so, billions of animals would be saved.
According to animal rights group PETA, the hub of the leather industry is in countries such as India and China, where animal rights laws either do not exist or are not enforced. Because of this, cows and other animals often experience immeasurable pain and suffering before they are slaughtered. On top of this, the environmental impact of the production of the material is also detrimental, with processes such as tanning releasing toxins into the air.
Despite her belief that all brands should ditch leather, McCartney advises activists to praise brands that have made incremental adjustments to their ethical policies. For example, as well as fur, a number of labels, including Diane Von Furstenberg, have dropped mohair from their collections.“There is this human instinct to put people down when they’re doing something good,” she noted. “Anything is better than nothing. It’s a positive thing.”
The designer and daughter of music legend Paul McCartney and late activist Linda McCartney, is on a mission to transform the future of fashion. However, it hasn’t always been an easy task. “When I started, I was ridiculed, really,” she recalled.
However, the cynicism of others hasn’t held McCartney back; she recently bought out the 50 percent stake in her brand owned by Kering and took full control. Over the past few months, the designer has collaborated with Adidas to launch a new sustainable sportswear collection made from recycled ocean plastic, debuted cruelty-free “fur-free fur,” and launched vegan leather “Stan Smith” shoes. McCartney’s brand even earned the title of the Luxury Institute’s Kindest Luxury Fashion Brand in July.
Image Credit: Wiki Commons
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