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Stella McCartney: Style and Substance

Designer Stella McCartney

By: Jessica Michault

There are some brands you buy because you want to look cool. While others tick the “giving back” or “good for the environment” box. An then there are the brands that you buy because the designer is someone you think you could possibly be friends with—if you ever got the chance to meet them. Stella McCartney is that rarest of designers, who accomplishes all of those things.

In the beginning, when McCartney launched her signature label—which has a very prominent animal-free policy—there were many that thought she would never be able to make it. Especially considering that leather accessories are where most luxury brands make their money.

“I was brought up on an organic farm in the countryside and the whole family was vegetarian,” explained McCartney, “So, when it came to my career, starting a job and starting a fashion brand, I guess it wouldn’t have sat comfortably with me to be hypocritical. The seeds were already sewn in my personal life, and then they came into my business life.”

Today, not only does the designer have a highly successful ready-to-wear line that healthily accounts for over 50 percent of her business, she also has a flourishing and longstanding partnership with Adidas and her children’s clothing line is a favorite with hip young parents looking to dress their kids in seriously cool, yet durable, duds. 

“There shouldn’t be any pretention about them, I think, because it’s a bit unfair to project your preciousness on your children,” said the designer and mother of four. “Children really can’t be precious with clothes. It’s a weird, sort of suffocating thing.”

Things are changing for McCartney too, in terms of finding pretty impressive alternatives to leather and fur. Her substitutes are so good these days that in her most recent Fall/Winter 2015 collection a number of journalists mistook her furry long coats as actually being made from animal pelts. 

In fact the designer had discovered something called “Fur Free Fur.” A fake fur that McCartney believes had finally cracked the nut of looking appealing. “I’ve been speaking to younger women about it recently and they don’t even want real fur,” said the designer following her show in March.

Besides the feel good aspect of buying from a brand that is so fundamentally involved in finding sustainable sartorial solutions, the clothing has a womanly appeal that is often forgiving, ageless and work on a number of different silhouettes. It looks as if Stella McCartney really is the perfect sartorial package.


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