#SuzyPFW: Stella McCartney: Two Decades Of Activism
Stella McCartney does not let the grass grow under her feet. At least, not when clearing the way provides another opportunity to plant a tree. Or when she sees a chance to persuade every person in her vast network of personal connections to plant the roots as signs of help and hope in the struggle to save rain forests.
In her Autumn/Winter 2019 show, she celebrated social action openly and joyously. At the feet of every guest and across each runway were written notes of thanks to friends – some as famous as Oprah Winfrey – and a posse of models. Other supporters were family, friends or unknown benefactors.
Painstakingly, after facing a lot of derision – not least from the fashion crowd – Stella has seen her dream come true. There is now a more thoughtful approach to nature in the widest sense.
“My first show was in 1995 at Saint Martins ,” she said. “My degree show had vegan sandals! I’m happy that people are now open to the conversation and I’m no longer a freak of nature and ridiculed.
“But leather is a big conversation,” she continued. “People’s businesses are based on leather and I’m going to try and show everyone that you can have a business in fashion, and you don’t have to associate luxury with leather or kill animals anymore.”
Stella does seem to have hit the sweet spot where everything she has tried to achieve is moving in the right direction. The show opened with coats that were threaded through the presentation, in plain colours, simulated leather or Prince-of-Wales checks in a mix of pink, grey and green.
All the ‘green’ codes were there, including a man’s coat that was puffed up like fur, but without any. Stella also showed her quirky sense of fun with earrings that looked like dangling paper clips and rubber bands. Decoration went further with handcraft stitching, as fabrics were upscaled by artist Sheila Hicks who created them using indigenous weaving techniques, to create wearable works of art.
With so much opposition currently to wearing fur, Stella has spent two decades proving that, for people to follow codes that protect sea and land, offering fine clothes built without hurt are the best way to put fashion on the right side of the issue.