Stella McCartney: I’ve always looked to humor to keep me sane and not take the world of fashion too seriously. When you’re dealing with such an important subject as the ethical treatment of animals or the environment, sometimes you’ve got to lighten the touch and find positivity, otherwise the issues we are facing get really depressing. At Stella, humor is at the core of the brand; we’ve been talking about these subjects from day one and it’s only recently that people haven’t felt uncomfortable or defensive about it. Humor makes the messaging easier to digest. Liam Freeman: The campaign addresses serious issues in a lighthearted way—how effective is humor in getting people to engage in more eco-friendly practices and to stop wearing fur?
What makes “Autumn” a particularly significant benchmark in the history of Stella McCartney, though, is that it’s the designer’s most sustainable collection yet; made using 80% eco-conscious materials—from the organic cotton of the patchwork trousers down to the beechwood soles of the shoes. Through the vibrant and sundry color story, McCartney says she wanted to create a sense of freshness and optimism, reflecting the time of year the collection is being released—spring—a season “filled with so much hope.” The athleticism introduced through the bumbags, skiwear-inspired dresses, and tracksuits, meanwhile, is intended to “encourage people outside and celebrate life.”
It’s both a fashionable—and fitting—extension for Ralph Lauren, a brand that embraces, and perhaps epitomizes, the idea of Americana. Baseball, after all, is considered our country’s national pastime, and when King George VI visited FDR at the White House, the president served him a hot dog as an example of quintessential American cuisine. As more and more fashion and lifestyle companies seek to embrace culinary concepts that embody the same creative ethos—from Carolina Herrera’s Angelina outpost to Gucci’s Osteria—the airstream is a physical vehicle of Ralph Lauren’s signature aesthetic, already well-honed through Ralph’s Coffee, Ralph’s in Paris, and their stores worldwide.“Animals are our equals”: That’s the message Stella McCartney wanted to convey through her pre-fall photoshoot and nature mockumentary, “Autumn,” premiering on Vogue on June 10th. Shot by Mert and Marcus, models are dressed in the collection wearing toy animal heads as they roam around London “rewilding” its streets, a testament to the fact that the brand has been leather and fur-free for 20 years. To put the impact of that commitment into context, the 1 million-plus vegan Falabella bags that have been sold since the style launched in fall 2009 would have needed the hides of 400,000 cows if they had been made of leather. Speaking from her home in the English countryside, McCartney joined us over Zoom to tell us how she is continuing to shrink her brand’s impact on the planet and why the future of fashion is fur-free.
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