Stella McCartney Shoots Latest Campaign in a Landfill

Photo: Harley Weir for Stella McCartney

Photo: Harley Weir for Stella McCartney

“The idea we had with this campaign is to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path … Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.” ~ Stella McCartney, in press release

Designer Stella McCartney is tackling the issue of sustainability from a different angle in her new winter campaign. Hoping to take the fashion conversation to a new level, McCartney has shot her AW17 womenswear campaign in a landfill site on the coast of Eastern Scotland.  Photographed by Harley Weir in collaboration with artist Urs Fischer, the images see the models standing and lying upon piles of landfill. These sobering images reflect the reality of a world consumed by throwaway consumption, fast fashion, and fashion waste.

Thank you, Stella McCartney. I’m buying it. 

 

 

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Time for American Stores to Diss the Discount?

printable-clearance-sale-sign “Amongst American retailers, discounting has become so common that it’s a challenge to walk past specialty stores like J.Crew and Gap, or traditional department stores like Macy’s or JCPenney, without seeing red sale signs.” ~ The Business of Fashion

Apparently, American retailers have jumped in too far with the constant discounting. And though it appears to be a win for the customer,  it’s actually unhealthy for the retail industry itself, “shrinking profit margin and diminishing brand value, making the path back to growth more difficult,” says The Business of Fashion. It’s especially hard in the United States, where European stores like H&M and Zara are eating into its market share. In addition, the discounting model in Europe is much different from the United States. “It’s almost like a drug,” says Tiffany Hogan, a retail analyst for Kantar Retail. “We’re on this 40 percent off drug that we pulse every weekend or even more frequently. What happens when you take away your promotions? Your shopper just kind of melts away because you know that you’ve trained them to come back on that 40 percent off day.” Many retailers are opening outlet stores to get out of this vicious cycle and to create off-price stores without upsetting the old brand models.

But what does all of this mean for the future of the American retail market? Discounting in and of itself is not a bad thing, right? But the future model for Amercan retailers may have more to do with promoting loyalty programs and creating a unique shopping experience and promoting benefits for its customers – and away from the price slashing.

 

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‘Just say no to fast fashion and other waste,’ says activist Lauren Singer

Lauren Singer

Lauren Singer

Lauren Singer is on a mission to eliminate as much waste as possible from her life. This is admirable in and of itself, but as you read this interview, remember one thing: Lauren is only 23 years old. Here is my interview with Lauren …

MKG: Lauren, you are so young to have such a lofty and serious mission. How and why did this become your purpose?

LaurenThank you! Before I became Zero Waste, I was an activist against the fossil fuel industry and particularly vocal against hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, the process of extracting natural gas from shale formations that requires the use of millions of gallons of water, sand, and a mix of hazardous chemicals that are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting, and all around polluting to the environment. For me, saving the planet meant yelling at big oil. In fact, there was a time when I truly wasn’t even thinking about my trash, or my own ecological footprint in a holistic way. I had believed that studying environmental science, caring a lot about the earth, and talking about how much I disliked the fossil fuel industry was enough. However, in my years of protesting, I had forgotten one crucial aspect of activism that is hugely influential: my power as a consumerContinue reading

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Phoebe

Phoebe

It warms the heart to enjoy a conversation with a young woman with whom you have history and have known all of her life. I sat down with Phoebe, who turned sixteen last month, and at first, all I could see was the adorable cherub of a baby I once knew. But as Phoebe spoke, I left the baby behind and saw only the young woman sitting next to me. And isn’t she effortlessly chic and stylish? Here is Phoebe, in her own words: on fashion, where she shops, and the need to express oneself …

“My feeling about fashion is that you should dress the way you want to dress. I never understood trends. I just pick the things I like and I wear them …

My high school is big (Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, or simply, La Guardia High School), and like any other large school there is a wide range of fashion looks. But we definitely feel free to express who we really are without judgment. Sometimes students’ choices are wonderful and sometimes terrible, but at least they are their own and I think that is what’s important …

I shop at J. Crew, Forever 21 and The Gap. If I had to pick my favorite place to shop, I would say J. Crew, because their clothes are always current and classy. My friends and I also like to shop at Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop filled with current looks and is geared toward a young, hip crowd. There really isn’t one store where I shop most, because I look everywhere for pieces that fit my style. As long as it’s not too expensive and I think I can make it work in my wardrobe, I’ll buy it …

I wonder about the connection between fashion and self-esteem and people who don’t care about how they dress or what others think. I have a certain level of self-respect and it affects how I choose to dress. From what I observe at school people care about how they present themselves, too; from their outfits, to their makeup, to their shoes and their accessories. I think it’s connected to having a more positive self-esteem …

I used to wear only jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Now, I like to add different pieces to enhance my outfits and go a step further. I may choose a collared shirt under a sweater, with leggings and boots, for example. I’m also warming up to accessories like headbands and bracelets and I have a pair of pearl earrings that I wear with everything. I’m definitely more open to different styles.” ~ Phoebe

Phoebe, you are doing so well! I think you have a smart fashion sense and a solid perspective on the benefits of expressing yourself through your clothing choices. I love to see it and to see you too!  xx, Melissa

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Creating sustainable fashion

Stella McCartney’s Mock Croc Lauren Pump – faux-leather pumps with partly-biodegradable rubber soles

Fast fashion is a term that describes the disposable, see-it-once-and-replace-it world of contemporary, very moderately priced fashion. H&M and Forever 21 are fast fashion stores. A positive alternative for younger consumers who want to experiment with fashion and not invest in haute couture prices; but unfortunately, fast fashion comes with a price of its own. We as an American society are buying and discarding more than ever at a time when our planet needs us to recycle and reuse. We need to think more in terms of sustainable fashion.

Fortunately, there is a growing albeit slow moving attempt to recycle fashion, and some well-known designers are catching on. Stella McCartney, who has always been conscience of the fabrics she uses (she refuses to use fur or leather), revealed a new platform pump this September that is a mix of faux leather and partly biodegradable rubber soles. (I wear these in my dreams, by the way; I could never afford them nor could I walk in them, but I completely love them!). Stella admits to “having a huge admiration for my mom. I think that I’m keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.” (Her mom, Linda McCartney, who was a health advocate, animal rights activist and vegetarian, passed away in 1998.).

Sustainable fashion is also making news in smaller, grass roots stories. A new book called Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change examines the potential for the fashion system to transform itself to a more sustainable industry. One of the individuals highlighted in the book, Michael Swaine of San Francisco, is doing his part to reuse fashion in his own local community. San Francisco writer Darby Minow Smith interviewed Mr. Swaine about his on-going project, called The Free Mending Library. This project is about people both bringing clothing items to mend and those who come to help do the mending. Supportive and sustainable.

These are inspiring stories. They have forced me to stop and think about how I am contributing to the waste stream and what I can do about it.

What do you think?

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