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In their pursuit to suffice the gluttony of luxury fashion consumers, most brands give in to disposable fashion and side line the sustainability aspect altogether. Try as we may to deny it, truth is that most issues of ethical importance fail to grab our attention unless they are dressed in designer prettiness. Catering to this very human hypocrisy therefore and using it to the advantage of the case in point is pioneer of sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney. A green crusader from the luxury fashion industry, she has built a sustainable luxury brand.

Last month, Imran Amed  from ‘The Business of Fashion'  sat Stella down to discuss how she did it. Here are a few excerpts from that conversation…

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On pioneering the idea of sustainability v/s luxury

“If your remove leather from your fashion diet you are 20 times less harmful to the environment, Leather has the most negative impact on the planet environmentally. Along the way as I went to traditional fashion houses I decided to never use leather. Of course, that isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not easy to change people’s minds on how to approach this. Sourcing is difficult, I have to train people, it takes longer to make, expenses are more but they are challenges worth taking.”

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On sourcing leather that is not leather

“Well we are committed to it, so we work to achieve it. We work with local communities, we train them, provide them with income. We treat animals in an ethical manner, however we are not perfect but we are working at it. We are working to put the nutrients back into the soil because fashion is raping soil on a daily basis. So we have a plan and the plan is to remove the bad and replace it with the good.”

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On the program QUEEN BY DESIGN that works to curb chemical dyeing of fabrics

“Chemical issue, dying fabrics consumes heavy amounts of water, chemicals and energy. In fact there is an expression that you can tell the next colour of fashion trend on the runways for next season by the colour of the rivers in China.”

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On the sustainable ethos of her business and the competitive advantage

“Well it is definitely our point of difference, we are having this conversation because we do sustainable fashion and other fashion houses don’t do it. We are very open minded and modern like that, we are not afraid to do anything,  we are not afraid to try new things, we have an open minded approach, we are excited to embrace new risks. That gives us an edge. This industry is extraordinarily old-fashioned. It seems medieval to me that this industry kills millions of animals for fur and leather. I just can’t wrap the idea around my head that they are not being accountable for the chemicals that entail the cruelty that entails. That’s not a modern approach.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Stella McCartney Blog