“What a wonder!” Stella McCartney exclaims in front of the Liparian treasures from the 4th century BC housed in Glasgow’s majestic Kelvingrove Museum. That was, however, in the past. Now there’s the future of fashion, which the 50-year-old British designer, daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, a staunch vegan and animal activist, has been contemplating for quite some time. Her new project, titled “The Future of Fashion” is based primarily on the use of mushrooms, from which the alternative “leather” is derived. On display are bags. “Because mushrooms are extraordinarily respectful of the environment.”
She has the support of Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Charles in this process. The latter, who still wears shoes he bought in 1971, has always shared one goal with Stella McCartney: to make Fashion more sustainable. Thus, the designer introduces us to sustainable “leather” Mylo, made from mycelium of fungi, regenerative cotton “Söktaş,” Evernu’s NuCycl fiber, and Econyl nylon, made from waste and plastic from the oceans, as part of the project “The Future of Fashion,” presented on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit. Stella McCartney, that’s it. Or, to put it another way, this is how her revolution appears.
La Repubblica. – You also created the first vegan football boots, didn’t you?
Stella McCartney. – Yes, we developed them with Paul Pogba, the footballer , who is also a fervent environmentalist. We met during lockdown, on Zoom, thanks to Adidas.
What are football boots usually made of?
SM: Kangaroo leather! You realize ? I have also produced environmentally friendly Stan Smith shoes. And let’s be clear … the boots I’m wearing aren’t leather! And we plant a tree in Sweden for every viscose dress we produce. It took me three years to finance the project, which is 100% sustainable.
But even Stella McCartney’s clothes and accessories are still too expensive for “normal” people.
SM: It’s true. However, quality comes at a price. I will do my utmost to reduce retail costs, but governments must help us. You cannot give hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to the meat and fish industries and give nothing to the Fashion industry. And then, mentalities must change.
In which way ?
SM: We have too many things. We must own less things, but quality things. As many activists already do, we need to use the same clothes more often and buy second-hand. Inexpensive “ fast Fashion ”, which is produced in China in particular (28% of global emissions, Editor’s note) , causes stratospheric damage to the planet and generates billions of dollars in waste each year.
But where does your passion for ecology come from?
SM: I grew up on one of England’s first organic farms, my parents introduced me to veganism and I had the chance to travel a lot with them. I quickly understood that everything was linked in the world. I’ve loved Fashion since I was little, and I’ve always shied away from hypocrisy.
Prince Charles is also a great conservationist. Until a few years ago, some people still laughed at him.
SM: Everyone was laughing at us. In fact, when I had the misfortune to refuse the meat that was served to me at the table, I encountered the indignation of quite a few people. It was as if I was depriving them of one of their rights.
What has changed in the meantime?
SM: Science has proven us right. It shed light on the damage caused by our main lifestyles. In the Amazon, it’s the equivalent of a football field that disappears every minute. And the slaughter of animals is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases emitted across the world. The Future of Fashion and the planet is vegan.
Were you confident about the outcome of COP26?
Sm: The G7 did not meet my expectations. When I discussed the damage done by traditional Fashion with some of the leaders, I realized they didn’t know anything! However, I think this COP is marked by greater awareness. Of course, we still serve meat and fish at parties. There is still a long way to go. Even in the Fashion world.
You are indeed one of the rare stylists to defend the environment …
SM: But the others will also eventually convert to this cause, believe me. Because if they don’t, they’ll soon be awfully old-fashioned.