Stella McCartney’s latest line – style against a backdrop of waste

24 July 2017

Photoshoot of Stella McCartney line in landfill

Stella McCartney has a history of promoting causes via her luxury fashion brand. The tradition has been continued with the latest campaign, which features models dressed in attractive and highly-expensive creations – in a Scottish landfill site.

The messages, according to the company, are all about drawing attention to our out-of-control throw-away society. “The idea we had with this campaign is to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path. Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet, which is why there is waste.”

The campaign was created with the artist Urs Fischer and photographer Harley Weir. It is just the latest involving the company that has focused on sustainability issues. For instance, last month it announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans to use yarn made from recycled bottles to create a limited edition trainer.

In addition, Stella McCartney uses organic cotton, recycled fibres and “vegetarian leather”.

Fashion shoot in landfill

Even for an activist brand like McCartney, such a campaign is not risk free. These clothes are high-end fashion. To recreate the scene on the landfill site with the green dress beneath the nude lace tulle layer would set you back a cool three and a half grand (no wonder they chose the ‘clean’ landfill that is due to go to recycling rather than the full on muck of the real thing for this photoshoot). 

Making a big point about waste at the point of purchase of such a garment might not always have the outcome you would hope, particularly when you reflect on the research that says that the average fashion garment is worn an average of seven times before being discarded into the back of the wardrobe.

But the sustainability message has been part of the McCartney brand for so long, the risks are minimal. And the clothes, even in their gritty surroundings, are genuinely stylish and beautiful. The juxtaposition simply serves as the illustration to a point McCartney made last year in an interview with Forbes. She noted how far sustainable clothes had come from the “hempy, oatmeal, granola stuff” of the past. She said she was all too aware of either “producing garments that wouldn’t sell or would automatically end up in landfill for how awful they were”.

Now, it’s safe to say, the contrast works to the clothes’ favour.