Stella McCartney credits her commitment to sustainability for her business success.The British fashion designer and animal rights activist launched her eponymous label in 2001, and has built up a reputation for not using any leather or fur in her designs. Stella has long sought animal-alternative and sustainable materials in her garments and accessories, and in spite of some criticism, believes her genuine interest in eco matters resonates with customers.
"People have dipped in and out of these causes since they've become marketing strategies. But when I started, to even have that conversation was really ridiculed," she told model Natalia Vodianova in an interview for W magazine. "What I do in fashion is more than fashion, and I've always wanted to engage with like-minded people in the process."
Stella opens up about her company values and eco-friendly approach to fashion
Stella's designs are now sold in 17 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan's Soho, London's Mayfair and Paris' Palais Royal. While the 45-year-old is producing for the high-end market, she is determined to change thinking around what constitutes a luxury item.
"I've always been fascinated by this old-fashioned mindset that leather equals luxury. For me, fashion is about change. You have to break out of the trappings the luxury world has caught itself in. They're not modern," she shared.
The fashion designer also admits that researching and developing new sustainable materials such as nylon from recycled from plastic bottles can be expensive and time-consuming. But she tries not to pass on additional costs onto her customer.
"My product becomes more expensive to make, but I don't pass that cost on to my consumer. I absorb it myself. I have people who want to work with us now because of our company values, and I'm really proud of that," said the designer.