Fast fashion designers expect a dress to stay in your closet just five weeks before being thrown away. That ends up in landfill. Fashion designer Stella McCartney makes her sustainable message part of her latest campaign – by shooting her new collection on a landfill site. By Anthea Ayache
Fashion designer Stella McCartney is always breaking boundaries. A committed vegetarian, she was one of the first to completely eliminate fur, skin and leather from her designs, was at the forefront of making sustainability a central theme to her work, and now she’s shot her latest collection – another first no doubt – on a landfill site.
As a clear leader in the green fashion movement, her latest A/W17 collection draws attention to a global crisis wreaking havoc on our environment: waste and overconsumption.
Models Birgit Kos, Iana Godnia and Huan Zhou were photographed languishing across rusty old cars, surrounded by household rubbish, by photographer Harley Weir in collaboration with artist Urs Fischer on a landfill site on the east coast of Scotland.
But Stella – whose brand is the Kering group’s top-performing luxury brand thanks as much to her personal ethical message as to her beautiful designs – didn’t choose the site as an interesting backdrop. Her message is loud and clear.
‘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,’ Stella announced on her website. ‘Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.’
As an outspoken advocate of the environment, the 45-year-old hopes to raise awareness of a burgeoning over consumption problem. She has now focused her attention on fast fashion a trend that sees young fashionistas keep a dress in their closet for just five weeks, research in the UK has discovered.
Stella wants to change that, and that’s why she’s leading the way in sustainable fashion. A whopping 53 per cent of her womenswear collection can be considered sustainable while her new menswear line sits at 45 per cent. Her new A/W 2017 line is designed with recycled materials including organic cotton, sustainably sourced viscose, recycled nylon and cruelty-free Skin-Free-Skin.
‘I design clothes that are meant to last,’ she said. ‘I believe in creating pieces that aren’t going to get burnt, that aren’t going to landfills, that aren’t going to damage the environment. For every piece in every collection I am always asking what have we done to make this garment more sustainable and what else can we do. It is a constant effort to improve.’
What you can do
By wearing a garment for an extra nine months research shows it reduces its environmental impact by up to 30 per cent. Selling on unwanted clothes or giving them away to friends, family or charity, can result in a net greenhouse gas saving of 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for even one tonne of clothing.
Finally, buy better quality clothes that will last in terms of classic design. As Stella’s good friend and fellow designer Vivienne Westwood says: ‘It’s about quality, not quantity – not landfill.’