ROCK AND ROLL HEIRESS…FASHION ROYALTY…ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST STELLA McCARTNEY WEARS MANY CHIC HATS
BY KARDIA YAZMYNE WILLIAMS
Stella Nina McCartney was born in 1971 in Lambeth, London, to photographer Linda McCartney and Beatles bandmember Paul McCartney, so it’s fair to say that creativity was bred in the bone. A love affair with fashion began during childhood; when she was 13 she designed her first jacket. McCartney later attended Central Saint Martins College in London, where she majored in fashion design—afterwards serving as an intern for designer Christian Lacroix. In true rock and roll idiom, she had supermodels Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Yasmin Le Bon model her senior fashion collection at a graduation runway show.
In 1997, McCartney replaced Karl Lagerfeld as the creative director of Chloé, bringing a youthful and sensual aesthetic to the luxury brand, but in 2001 left to launch an eponymous fashion house. The latter’s initial collection, which consisted of barely there dresses and tee shirts sporting sexually suggestive messaging, received less than stellar reviews. Despite the rocky start, the namesake brand soon gained a footing, evolving into well-tailored, effortlessly chic pieces that embodied what its head described as modern femininity. In time, it also caught the attention of Hollywood celebrities and “it girl” influencers like Miley Cyrus, Amal Clooney, and Ariana Grande, who are still frequently photographed wearing Stella McCartney’s understatedly elegant pieces. The lines’ appeal extends to the royal and political arenas, as well; Duchess Meghan Markle chose McCartney to design her wedding reception dress, while First Lady Melania Trump is frequently seen at events garbed in brand pieces, and Michelle Obama wore a custom jumpsuit while in London for her Becoming book tour.
The 47 year old is especially attuned to the environmentally conscious set. She adheres to a vegan lifestyle and is an avid supporter of animal rights and environmental causes passions that extend beyond personal habits. Noted for a “no animal” policy, Stella McCartney doesn’t utilize leather, fur, or feathers in its designs, and has also partnered with PETA to advance awareness of the impact of the leather and fur industry on animals collaborating in the PETA Prize For Animal Free Wool, an international competition for university students that had them inventing vegan alternatives to animal derived bers. Her company also created innovative techniques for leather alternatives production, an e ort that includes recycled marine plastic and using yeast based silk. The Spring/Summer 2019 collection, meanwhile, features breezy separates and pantsuits in relaxed silhouettes made from sustainable viscose.
In keeping with growing concern over climate change, McCartney additionally utilizes low emission production parameters, and is collaborating with the United Nations to bring sustainability awareness to other fashion labels. In 2019, she also launched a social media campaign, #thereshegrows (with the support of friends Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore), to bring public awareness to Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, an ancient tropical rainforest endangered due to deforestation.
Championing protecting the planet is no mean feat in an industry that too often pantomimes societal and environmental concern. But, from a “no skins” policy to raising awareness of sustainable fashion practices, this daughter of musical royalty is ensuring that her brand leaves positivism behind in various realms.