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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“Fashion really is getting away with murder,” says Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney at London College of Fashion, November 14, 2016; Dave Benett/Getty Images for Kering

Fashion is one of the most harmful industries on the planet, and I think people are a little more aware of that now.”  ~ Stella McCartney

Monday night, Stella McCartney was the guest speaker at the London College of Fashion for a sustainability-themed talk, hosted by her label’s parent company, Kering. How I would have loved to hear this conversation in person – I admire McCartney’s willingness to go beyond awareness of a situation to actually activating change. Fifteen years ago when McCartney launched her label, she said she was “ridiculed” for banning leather and fur from her collections: “I was told definitely I would not have a business, I wouldn’t have an accessories business…by people I worked with, that I looked up to.” But sales have been “in the double digits … for a while now,” and her commitment to producing products that are entirely vegetarian, has paid off. Raising awareness and making us consumers accountable is her mission. I’m buying it!

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Lighting the Fashion Torch at the 2016 Olympics

Swedish athletes Tomas Hjert, from left, Stephanie Ydström, Sara Sjöström, Khaddi Sagnia and Simon Sjödin model pieces designed by H&M for Team Sweden. (H&M)

Swedish athletes Tomas Hjert, from left, Stephanie Ydström, Sara Sjöström, Khaddi Sagnia and Simon Sjödin model pieces designed by H&M for Team Sweden. (Photo: H&M)

In just a few weeks the Summer Olympic Games in Rio will kick off and the world will not only be tuning into the global athletic competition, but to the fashion show that begins with the August 5 Opening Ceremony. Once again, fashion designers will be outfitting their designated teams. Stella McCartney is serving as designer for Great Britain’s team with her original idea of a coat of arms, Polo Ralph Lauren is once again designing for Team United States, Giorgio Armani is designing for Team Italy, and Stockholm-based H&M is designing for Swedish Olympic and Paralympic athletes. What I love about the H&M fashion story, is that the designs will be made of recycled polyester fiber. H&M has made eco-consciousness and sustainability a focus over the last few years and I love that this concentration is inspiring the team’s Olympic outfits.

Many of the teams have yet to reveal the fashion looks, which will make the Opening Ceremony one really large global red carpet. I will be watching!

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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.

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