For Stella McCartney, fashion must give up leather or die trying

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The fashion industry must prepare to eliminate waste and take radical positions such as completely abandoning animal leather, said British designer Stella McCartney.

In an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Glasgow on Wednesday, McCartney said fashion houses must “trade bad deals with good deals” for the good of the planet.

“Unfortunately, we are one of the most environmentally damaging industries,” she said.

“And I’m here to really showcase the future of fashion and show everyone that there is basically another way and that we have solutions.”

As the vegetarian daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, she got a head start in life, transferring her green education to fashion.

Despite initial skepticism from his peers, McCartney has never used leather products since entering the industry three decades ago.

Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery is hosting an installation during COP26 showcasing the innovative low-carbon materials used by McCartney over the years.

Famous visitors to the installation included Prince Charles and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, both outspoken on environmental issues.

They include the mycelium, which can be extracted directly from the fungus and used as a substitute for animal skin for making bags and shoes.

NuCycl is also on display, a technology that its manufacturers claim is capable of making natural and synthetic textiles endlessly recyclable.

“We hope, without a doubt, that these are viable solutions and we just have to bring them to the attention of the world,” McCartney said.

“Viable solutions”

Fashion is the second largest manufacturing sector on Earth, responsible for up to 8% of all carbon emissions, according to a study by the World Resources Institute.

The main challenge is to incorporate more sustainable materials into clothes that will be worn by billions of people around the world.

“I mean, that’s the intention,” McCartney said.

“We certainly hope that these are viable solutions and we just have to bring them to the attention of the world.”

Famous visitors to McCartney’s installation included Prince Charles and actor Leonardo diCaprio Owen Humphreys POOL / AFP

McCartney previously caused a stir with a video she posted exposing the abuse of animals in the industry, and clips from that video were shown at the exhibit.

“We need to let people know that, you know, hundreds of millions of animals are killed every year for fashion, leather, animal skins and glues,” McCartney said.

Just as fashion tastes change over time, younger generations are less inclined to wear animal products, she said.

“I think we’re in a time where… we get out of place very quickly and… Gen X, Y, and Z won’t buy bad fashion, evil fashion, dirty fashion.”

“500 billion dollars of waste”

After three decades in the industry, McCartney spoke of the lessons she learned about the waste created by designers’ never-ending quest for innovation.

“People wear fast fashion up to three times before they throw it away. And that creates over $ 500 billion in waste,” she said.

“It’s, for me, a business opportunity. So I’m trying to flip it all over. Something like ‘Hey, you know what? You can take that waste. And I’m going to show you a hoodie that I can do completely. out of waste. ‘”

Besides being more ethical and better for the planet, McCartney believes animal substitutes have a much stronger selling point.

“We’re replacing it with a better product. It’s more fun for them to work with,” she said.

“Who wants to work in a slaughterhouse? “

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