Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, yet our insatiable hunger for new product means overconsumption shows no signs of abating. Thankfully, brands big and small are working to tackle the environmental and human damage that fast fashion has and still is causing. One such brand is Stella McCartney, which is steadfastly committed to sustainability and has just released its latest campaign for AW17, shining a spotlight on the issues of waste and reckless consumption.
In collaboration with artist Urs Fischer and photographer Harley Weir, McCartney's AW17 collection is shot against the backdrop of the eastern coast of Scotland, the manmade landscapes formed from discarded items, questioning what we are leaving for future generations. In one campaign image we see ‘clean waste’ on its way to a recycling centre, juxtaposed with the harsh reality of landfill in another.
“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," designer Stella McCartney explains. "Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.”
The AW17 collection, featuring head-to-toe jersey tailoring and embroidered tulle layered with lace, is made from innovative and recycled materials such as organic cotton, sustainably sourced viscose, recycled nylon and cruelty-free 'Skin-Free Skin'. The luxury British fashion brand is continually trying to lessen its impact on the environment – 53 percent of the womenswear collection comes from sustainable materials and the brand has never used leather, fur, skins or feather. When it is expected that plastic production will triple by 2050 as the global population explodes to almost 10 billion, every brand should be making social responsibility a priority and re-evaluating manufacturing processes.
The campaign images are accompanied by a film featuring a song by Australian musician Tkay Maidza. Models Birgit Kos, Iana Godnia and Huan Zhou lip-synch to the words as they walk around the bleak environment, bringing a message of hope and youthful positivity. At a time when fashion activism is widespread and countless brands are unconvincingly jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, Stella McCartney's bold campaign is an authentic call to action. Here's hoping other fashion brands are quick to follow suit.