Sustainability seems to be the current buzzword in the fashion industry. More and more labels are committing themselves to going fur-free, plastic-free, and take on more eco-friendly measures in the months that have gone that it resulted in others doubting the sincerity behind the movement. The same cannot be said for Stella McCartney, who was already green right in the beginning. This makes the British designer more than ideal to lead the call for the fashion industry to reevaluate and change its methods for a safer, better global condition.
Stella McCartney’s eponymous brand is off the top of most people’s heads when it comes to sustainable fashion. Her activism extends to her designs, making them without the need to harm animals and polluting the environment. McCartney has taken up the task of exploring more cruelty-free materials, and was among the first to use vegan leather and faux fur that do not appear inferior when compared to their “real” counterparts. She has also used her influence to establish platforms such as the Stella McCartney Cares Pink and Stella McCartney Cares Green, the latter of which aims to start with fashion students in making sustainability the norm in the industry. Recently, the brand has been developing a platform where its best practices and research can be accessed by aspiring designers.
This time around, she’s calling on the big players of the industry with a UN-backed initiative to make the change. Stella McCartney has revealed during Business of Fashion’s Voices conference that there is a UN charter initiated by the UN climate change secretariat that will focus especially on addressing the harmful effects of the industry’s activities. Fashion has been criticized time and again for its contribution to global pollution, but McCartney believes that the industry is not helpless in putting an end to it.
There is an urgency in saving the planet, and this is supported by countless studies and estimates on the effects of toxins to the degradation of the environment. McCartney echoes this and hopes that the proposed charter will prompt parties, especially in the fashion industry, to immediately undertake changes to turn the tide. The signatories will be revealed eventually, assumed at this point to be mostly made up of fast fashion brands, which are the biggest offenders in contributing to waste. McCartney hopes that by teaming up, the industry can also come up with a business plan that will help the environment as well as still keep the brands profitable. She plans on introducing the fashion brands to methods that leave less carbon footprints.
The proposed charter will be formally presented before the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland next week. “We really don’t have long now, to change things. But I honestly believe it’s doable – I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe that,” said McCartney on her interview with The Guardian regarding the charter. “There is so much guilt and fear attached to talking about sustainability and that’s not helpful. What is essential is for the big players in the industry to come along with me, because that changes the price point.” The changing preferences of consumers might help speed up things, too. Environmentally-conscious fashion brands are becoming stylish, and for the better.
Image credits: Business of Fashion, Stella McCartney, Reuters, Harley Weir