The fashion industry is often stereotyped as being just about glitz and glamour, but for runway fashion designer Stella McCartney, it has recently become all about waste. The designer, who has long been concerned with the problems of global waste and overconsumption, recently announced that she would be incorporating more eco-friendly materials into her clothing lines. McCartney also released a series of fashion photos highlighting the global waste problem, with beautifully-dressed models posing alongside piles of garbage at landfill sites.
The photos were a collaborative effort between McCartney, photographer Harley Weir and artist Urs Fischer. It makes sense to tackle waste awareness with eye-catching imagery, since, according to McCartney, much of the world's waste problem is caused by an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" mindset. "Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet, which is why there is waste," McCartney explained.
“Stella’s fashion to me is about dignity, love and a beautiful attitude to all challenges. All while feeling good and looking great and we wanted to reflect that in the concept of this campaign” – Urs Fischer In a campaign collaboration with @HarleyWeir and #UrsFischer we explore the problem of mindless waste. A discarded car disrupts the Sottish landscape and serves as a reminder to consider what we are leaving behind for future generations. Discover the campaign on #StellasWorld at #StellaMcCartney.com
Of course, awareness alone isn't enough to affect widespread change, and McCartney seems well aware of this fact. In addition to partnering with artists and photographers, McCartney has joined forces with Parley for the Oceans, the same environmental organization that famously created Adidas sneakers from recycled ocean waste, to incorporate their recycled plastic yarn into her clothing lines. The designer will also be using ECONYL fiber, made from nylon waste, in crafting her accessories, such as shoes and handbags, according to Sustainable Brands.
But can changing the way runway fashions are created really have a far-reaching impact, as McCartney seems to hope? After all, most runway fashions never find their way into the closets of average people. Or at least, not in the way one might think. As it turns out, runway fashion has a large impact on the fashion trends marketed to everyday people. In fact, runway designs are almost always the inspiration for more mainstream fashion trends in a given year, via a phenomenon commonly known as trickle-down fashion.
"The idea with this campaign is to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves, our attitude and our collective path.” x Stella By continuing to highlight issues that are important to us, models @BirgitKos, @IanaGodnia and @HuanModel explore a landfill in Scotland in our new season Winter campaign. We must think about what we are leaving behind.
Does it not stand to reason, then, that if a certain hemlines and color palettes can trickle down from the runway to the mainstream, that sustainable materials could, as well? Thanks in part to awareness campaigns like the ones launched by McCartney, consumers today are more cognizant of environmental issues, and are demanding more eco-friendly products than ever before. Should eco-friendliness become fashionable on the runway, it is very possible that it could become even more fashionable for mainstream consumers. In that way, small changes like those being made by designers like McCartney have the potential to reach much further than a single brand or clothing line.