Stella McCartney, a lifelong vegetarian and respected designer, has built her brand around strong vegan values, which are shared by her parents. In an interview with The Business of Fashion in 2015 McCartney said: “There are over a billion animals killed a year for food, half of which don’t even get eaten. And there’s over 50 million animals killed just for fashion.” As such, McCartney has never used any animal products to develop her designs.
However, the ethical designer is taking her line to the next level by incorporating plastic debris collected from the ocean into her brand. Perhaps, by raising awareness about the predicted 8 million metric tons of plastic introduced into the oceans every year and using the discarded waste for a luxury product, people will begin realise the desperate state of our oceans.
McCartney is partnering with Parley for the Oceans, a company which strives to raise awareness and act against ocean pollution. Its Ocean Plastic Materials initiative aims to transform trash into a premium product which can be used in fashion, beauty products or packaging and construction.
This month, a spokesperson for Parley for the Oceans told the New York Times: “It’s time to make peace between mankind and the sea. No social group is suited better for this challenge than the creative class. Stella McCartney is not only a fantastic designer; she is a pioneer of creative activism. Her work has changed the industry.”
The discarded ocean pollutants will be made into an alternative that will be luxurious and mimic the properties of leather. This alternative will be used to make clothes, accessories and shoes. The timing of this news comes after research was published last month that suggests there is an upward global trend in the production of leather alternatives. The consulting firm who produced the report, Grand View Research, predicts that the leather alternatives industry will be worth over 85 billion dollars by 2025.