Brand history: Stella McCartney – Fashion to help the environment

Today is one of the most famous and appreciated fashion designers. It wasn't always like that. A declared vegetarian that does not make any concessions in fashion. Fashion without skin, fur and feathers? It turns out that you can.

The idyllic life of fame

She grew up in an English village, surrounded by nature and away from the tinsel of the world show business. Despite this, as a young girl, McCartney knew what she wanted to do in the future. Fashion design was the first and only choice of Stella. She started quite early, but immediately at the top. First there was an internship with Christian Lacroix. Immediately afterwards at Edward Sexton, Beatels tailor from Savile Row. Both internships confirmed McCartney in the belief that design is a good choice. The next step was obvious – Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Designer or only the famous daughter?

The period of study in the London forge of creative talents turned out to be very demanding. Both students and professors were skeptical about her ecological beliefs, yet McCartney persistently defended their vision. The culmination of science at CSM was a graduration show, which turned out to be a great media event and … a failure for the designer herself herself.

In addition to guests, among whom Stella's parents – Paul and Linda McCartney appeared, topmodels such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Yasmin Lebon walked along the catwalk. The media wrote about the event in CSM. Unfortunately, the invited guests, topmodels and the designer's great name completely overshadowed the collection, which hardly any review mentioned at all. What's more, the McCartney star event distracted attention from other diploma shows, bringing colleagues to the designer to fury. McCartney was never to repeat this mistake again.

Kate Moss at the Stella McCartney diploma show, Source: Vogue.What.UK

A step towards great fashion

Started with a diploma show in 1995. The adventure with design under its own name was interrupted by only two collections. McCartney faced a great chance to earn the title of designer in a real fashion brand – Chloé. The choice of young British caused a huge surprise in the industry. Karl Lagerfeld (also designed for Chloé) said about the new designer:

I think they should have chosen a big name. They chose – But in music, not in fashion. Let's hope she is as talented as her father.

Already after the first McCartney show for Chloé, it turned out that skeptics were wrong. Chloé became a brand that everyone wanted to wear.

Own brand

Four years of experience in French brand, made a real star among the designers with Stella McCartney. It was also noticed by Tom Ford, who, acting on behalf of the Gucci Group (currently Kering), proposed McCartney cooperation. 50% of the shares were covered by the designer and the other half of the Gucci Group. This is how the Stella McCartney brand was born.


Just like in college, and then in Chloé, so in the case of her own brand, Stella was determined to implement only the best, environmentally friendly rules in her work. No natural leather, fur or feathers. Stella McCartney has been a fully vegetarian brand from the beginning. Sustainable development shapes the company's policy, its business model and message. The designer is involved in campaigns promoting concern for the environment when applying in a public forum. He plays the role of an UN adviser. At the COP24 atmospheric peak in Katowice as a UN representative, and a representative of the fashion industry presented a climate action card.


Eco-minimalism for everyone

The Stella McCartney style brand can be best described as a minimalist attitude towards femininity. Female silhouettes with a "male note" are permanent collection points. The combination of ecological awareness and subtle femininity meant that the brand gets into the tastes of both Fashion Victims, as well as people who just want to look good and not feel that they are dressed up.

Spring-summer 2017 show, source: Marieclaire.What.UK

Today, Stella McCartney is a women's, men's, children's, perfumes, underwear, accessories and glasses collection. The brand has 51 boutiques in the world, and is also sold in multibrandach and on platforms online. Just a few months ago, Stella McCartney became the only owner of the brand by taking over 50% of Kering's shares. The designer wanted independence and taking over the entire “ power ” in the brand. With a full package of shares, it decides what is good for the brand. In particular, when it comes to further investments in environmental projects.

It seems that moving away from "typical" raw materials and production methods, only causes McCartney customers. Falabella and Star handbags and Elyse platforms – made entirely of ecological skin substitutes, are besthers not only when it comes to the brand, but generally on the market of luxury accessories.

Stella McCartney boutique at Old Bond Street in London, the walls of the boutique were lined with paper-mâché made of waste from the brand's office, source: Wired.What.UK

Queen of innovation

As she admits, her activities in the search for new, ecological production solutions are to be used not only by the Stella McCartney brand, but to everyone else brand, who wants to take care of the environment. During the BOF Voties conference, she announced the creation of Stella McCartney Cares Green. The Foundation aims to promote the principles of sustainable fashion among young designers, as well as financially support the activities of lawyers and non -governmental organizations to facilitate the fight to change the regulations.

As for the raw materials from which clothing and accessories with the Stella McCartney tag are created, the designer is out of ideas – with itself … One of the novelties is Microsilk, i.e. laboratory produced silk and mylo – alternative skin grown from mushrooms.

Microsilku dress designed for the exhibition in Met

The brand is also working on replacing Nylon Econka, which is obtained from processed fishing networks. The main challenge for the designer and her team The polyester remains (decomposition time – 200 years), which is a component of synthetic leather used by the brand. The one used by Stella McCartney suppliers comes from processed bottles, yet it still does not meet the expectations. That's why Stella and the team R&D responsible for searching for new solutions, they have been working for many years to create something equally durable, but less harmful to the environment.

In addition to research on new raw materials, McCartney undertakes many other initiatives to draw attention to the state of the environment. One of them is Clevercare – a project promoted by McCartney, H&M and Swiss Gintex. Clevercare covers five simple areas of clothes that extend the durability of clothing, limit the number of clothes that land on the trash and reduce the carbon trail – laundry, temperature, drying, ironing and chemical cleaning.

Willing to cooperate

McCartney projects appreciated by critics, as well as an ecological mission that accompanies the brand from the very beginning, they are impressive not only on clients, but also on others brands, who are happy to cooperate with the designer. On his account Stella McCartney on collection for h&M and Australian Target network. In 2004. She also started – as it turned out – long -term cooperation with the Adidas brand. Stellasport – Line of sports clothing For yoga, tennis and golf, it impresses with design and innovative solutions for athletes.

Stellasport campaign, source:

The success of cooperation with Adidas brought further proposals to the designer. In 2010. became the creative director of the Adidas collection for the UK representation for the Olympics in 2012. In this role she performed again, supervising the costumes for the representation for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Olympic collection from 2012., Source:

Last year, Stella McCartney also collaborated with The Realreal resale platform. Every customer who placed on the platform and sold the designer clothes, received a $ 100 coupon for use in the brand boutique.

Chosen by princesses

Last year, McCartney was loud because of her involvement in the prince's wedding. When the world heard about the engagement of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ’ ego, it was McCartney that from the beginning was tipped as one of the designers of the wedding dress of the future duchess. It is true that Meghan went to the church ceremony in the Claire Weight Keller project, but at the party she appeared in the creation from the designer. Anyway, apart from the bride, many other stars also focused on British projects that evening.

A sketch of a wedding dress for Meghan Markle, source:

Wife, mother, daughter, designer

For merits for the fashion industry in 2013. Stella McCartney received the Order of the British Empire from the Queen. Despite the great fame and impressed by achievements, as well as star origin, the designer leads a completely peaceful life with her husband (Alasdhair Willis is the creative director of the Hunter brand) and four children at his side.