Fashion

Stella McCartney Gets Real And Personal On Cruelty-Free Fashion

“It’s the only way you can create a business, it’s the only way you can carry yourself in life.”

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Stella McCartney Gets Real And Personal On Cruelty-Free Fashion

“It’s the only way you can create a business, it’s the only way you can carry yourself in life.”

In this interview for PAPER Magazine, Mickey Boardman gets up close and personal with Stella McCartney to find out how she feels about being the epitome of cruelty-free fashion design in the industry. While she may have lived in her father’s shadows during her early years in the industry, Stella soon earned her claim and established herself as a remarkable designer that advocates sustainability and cruelty-free fashion. Considering that fashion designers these days have the power to influence the buying habits of consumers, the English designer aims to revolutionize the way people perceive the use of sustainable materials in fashion, whether it’s through her garments or her personal lifestyle choices. After all, if a product is “desirable, beautiful, luxurious and can stand the test of time as much as the conventional product made of leather or fur, then it doesn’t really matter.” You can read an excerpt from the interview below and can head over to PAPER to read the full feature.

Mickey Boardman: Is it annoying for people to call you the cruelty-free designer?

Stella McCartney: I’ve been called so many different names for so long. I started off as the child of Paul McCartney, so you know I’d prefer this label to that label. At first, I didn’t want to be pigeonholed with anything, really, but I’m actually more and more proud to be that. Sadly, I am the only one in luxury fashion (who designs cruelty-free collections). I am glad to be the reason that a journalist talks about sustainability and cruelty-free fashion. Somebody might read about that mindset, and it might make them think slightly differently about how they consume. If I’m creating a product that’s desirable, beautiful, luxurious and can stand the test of time as much as the conventional product made of leather or fur, then it doesn’t really matter. If I make a rubbish product, we’re not going to be sitting here talking anyway. It doesn’t matter how I made it, sourced it or manufactured it; it isn’t relevant if I can’t make a good product.

Mickey Boardman: Do you feel that since you’ve started people are more receptive to this kind of thinking?

Stella McCartney: There’s a small percentage of people that know of me as a fashion designer, and then a small percentage of that know that they’re buying a vegetarian pair of shoes, and I like that. My ultimate goal is that people don’t even know — that’s when I truly succeed. For me, people shouldn’t have to compromise anything to have a great, beautiful product. If you don’t notice that I’m wearing a vegetarian pair of shoes, then shouldn’t everyone be making non-leather shoes? Why are they not? It’s ridiculous to me. Mine last as long, they’re comfortable, and they look better! We can’t continue to go this way. We cannot sustain killing 45 billion animals a year for food. We don’t have enough land, we don’t have enough water, we don’t have enough grain, and it’s inefficient. One hundred football pitches of trees are being cut down every hour in the rainforest, for cattle alone. No matter what you think, it isn’t realistic. For me, it’s the only way you can create a business, it’s the only way you can carry yourself in life. If you’re thinking of starting a business, you have to be mindful of that. Sadly, fashion is so old-fashioned. It’s so uncool.

Mickey Boardman: Designers are like rock stars now. You seem so natural and comfortable with the press, and with being in the spotlight.

Stella McCartney: Everything I do is honest. Last night, at the party (the presentation of her cruelty-free Autumn collection at Amoeba Music in LA), it was a totally honest presentation. I’m not doing this to be cool, to be the trend. I’m not trying to be something that I’m not. It’s cool to be competitive; of course we want the best party, the best collection, but that’s not really the starting point. I think because I’m coming from a genuine place, it makes it easier for me to go into those environments and enjoy myself. I’m very lucky to have found a place that’s honest.

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Jo Metson Scott
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