Here at Rebag, we indulge in the idea of sustainability in the handbag industry. Similarly, within the past few years, consumers have also shifted their buying behavior to favor this new wave of fashion consciousness. So with demand comes supply, with dozens of designers taking the dive into making sure there brand fits the new desired industry standards. From using eco-friendly factories to the use of innovative vegan leathers, many have succeeded, but Stella McCartney has dominated.
THE EARLY STAGES OF STELLA
Stella McCartney, born in 1971, was born in England to musician Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, a prominent animals rights activist. As a child, she went to local schools, and retained a relatively normal life despite her parents’ high profile statuses. At the age of 13, she began to design clothing that ultimately landed her internships for top brands, including Christian Lacroix.
Ending up at the notorious Central Saint Martins, she graduated in 1995 with a degree in Fashion Design. Her senior year collection was so successful, she licensed the designs to Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. In 1997, she became the creative director of Chloe, where she then branched into her own fashion house in 2001.
Influenced by her mother, McCartney has been a vegetarian for her entire life, and has not used any leather or animal related materials in her any of her designs. So, in 2001, when she created her brand, she received incredibly wide criticism for her decision, and was ultimately expected to fail – because how could you possible create a high quality brand without using any leather?
Stella McCartney’s success not only stems from her values, but from her taste for design and desire to cater to her market. Despite not using leather, fur, or feathers, her designs remain incredibly innovative, especially with her use of textiles. Her most popular style, the Falabella, takes many shapes and forms within her collections. Originally released in 2010, it has become the it-bag of her brand, grabbing attention from the likes of Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie. The Falabella remains chic yet practical, as you can carry it by the top handles or fold it over to use as a shoulder bag. The bag has an innovated exterior crafted to be almost a near-perfect leather look alike, while the interior fabric is recycled material. Ultimately, it is modern luxury, and perfect for those who are fashion conscious.
Despite the massive success of the Falabella, some may argue why her brand is considered luxury when it doesn’t use any type of leather or exotics. The argument can be easily justified in that it is still considered a luxury item despite its material. The innovation, technology, and impeccable craftsmanship is on par with the industry standard leather good. In addition, this item is actually not as common as a typical leather bag – making it even more desirable!
THE FUTURE OF STELLA'S SUSTAINABILITY:
Stella McCartney is a true pioneer in the sustainable fashion industry, particularly in that she genuinely appeals to all fashion-driven audiences, not those who only buy “sustainable” products. However, she maintains her values into all assets of her brand from her bags to her ready to wear. She also uses state of the art technology to tie in both factors of sustainable production and material usage.
In 2017, Stella partnered with Bolt Threads, who is a biotechnology company who create innovative materials through protein based fibers found in nature. This creates a cleaner timeline from start to finish for a product. She also created the adidas by Stella McCartney Parley UltraBOOST X shoe, which used Parley Ocean Plastic™ – which is recycled ocean plastic turned into yarn.
With fashion being the second most damaging industry next to oil, other designers are trying to mirror Stella’s success. In late 2017, Gucci banned the use of fur as they signed up for the Fur Free Alliance. Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein have already taken this step for the fur free initiative.
Rebag is excited to see what lies ahead for the world of sustainable fashion, especially when it comes to handbags. But one thing is for sure, from the runway to her freestanding stores throughout the world, Stella McCartney is the future of fashion consciousness.