Stella McCartney wants to take kids on an animal adventure.
After a year of being cooped up at home, the inspiration for the Stella McCartney SS21 kidswear range comes from her love of wild creatures.
The “Best Friends Fur Life” collection explores why animals are our friends, not fashion. With vibrant prints and colours, and pieces featuring flora and fauna, the aim is to encourage kids to become the next generation of eco-warriors. For girls, the hippie-inspired vibe focuses on spring butterflies as well as dancing flamingos. A unisex cheetah theme allows little kids to become big cats, with eyes and ears on hoods, hats, and rain capes. For boys, graphic palm trees play to California dreamin’. Bags shaped like animals add another fun element.
Best Friends Fur Life
According to McCartney, in light of the pandemic, “These creature connections are more important now than ever.” As a result, the marketing campaign for “Best Friends Fur Life” pairs kids wearing key vegan pieces with their pets. Cheeky wordplay and illustrations educate about sustainability in a light-hearted manner. For instance, New York life and style blogger, Andrea Pion Pierre’s twin sons roll around with their dog Ralphie whilst chef Nini Nguyen’s daughter Sage is featured with their horse Pickle in Texas.
McCartney is adamant this is her most sustainable kids wear collection yet; it’s made with 84% eco-friendly fabrics. These include organic cotton, forest-friendly viscose and lyocell, recycled polyester and nylon, and repurposed jersey from previous collections.
Encouraging kids to move more after months of less activity, the collection has expanded its activewear range made from fast-drying, technical materials. Swimwear is made with recycled textiles and offers SPF 50 protection.
In the fashion world, McCartney has always been at the forefront of the vegan clothing movement. This is due, in no small part, to parents who taught her to be environmentally conscious. The British fashion designer is the daughter of Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda McCartney. Both parents became vegetarians in the ’70s and made sure they instilled a love of nature and animals in their children. Linda — who passed away from breast cancer in 1998 — was also an animal rights activist and launched her own vegetarian food range. In a recent Vogue interview, McCartney described her parents as “change agents”.
Now, the Stella McCartney brand’s mission is clear — no leather, no fur, no skins, no feathers.
As a vegetarian company, none of its products are tested on animals. Even COTY produce (as a licensee of Stella McCartney beauty products) is 100% vegan. Since the 2013 PETA campaign, which highlighted the plight of angora rabbits, all clothing has been angora-free. Equally, McCartney has chosen not to sell fragrances in China where government regulations require animal testing. All wool is sourced from a small group of hand-selected farms that have been carefully chosen based on their commitment to animal welfare and environmental stewardship. None of its cotton comes from Uzbekistan, Syrian, Turkmenistan, countries that are considered high risk for child labour. Instead, organic cotton is used, with its better supply chains and livelihoods for farmers.
A Little Help From My Friends
McCartney knows the importance of strategic partnerships in order to push for sustainability in fashion. As well as working with NGOs such as the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), McCartney is a longterm collaborator with sportswear giant Adidas. Most recently, they’ve launched the “Future Playground” collection of high performance eco-activewear for women.
McCartney also joined Burberry, and French luxury fashion group Kering in “The Italy Project.” Launched in 2020 by Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), an organization made up of brands, manufacturers and business stakeholders, the aim is to improve the sustainability outcomes of the apparel and footwear industry. McCartney is currently teaming up with Adidas, the Kering Group, and Lululemon to produce a vegan mushroom leather with biotech company Bolt Threads.
Most recently, McCartney signed a licensing agreement with Italian luxury kids wear distributor Simonetta. One goal of the licensing agreement is to increase Stella McCartney Kids global reach. Gabriele Maggio, CEO of Stella McCartney, explains in the press release, “This new partnership with Simonetta will take Stella McCartney Kids to the next level by combining a high level of knowledge and expertise in the category — increasing the brand’s positioning and growth potential across international markets.”
Another key aim of the deal is to create clothing and accessories with the least environmental impact. Simonetta is an industry leader in terms of a sustainable approach to sourcing and manufacturing. Starting as a small dressmaker’s shop in the 50s, the company sells its own brand clothing as well as manufacturing kidswear for Fendi, Cavalli, and Balmain, amongst others.
An Italian distributor was the natural choice for McCartney who works with a number of Italian factories. Her eco-friendly stretch denim is fabricated from mushroom and dyed with seaweed at the Candiani denim mill. Moreover, McCartney regularly shows in Milan due to the brand’s strong supply chain in the region. “A lot of our manufacturers are in Italy, a lot of our fabrics were created in Italy, and a lot of people who work in the house of Stella McCartney are Italian. They’ve all embraced us from the start,” she said in a 2018 WWD interview.
Shop the “Best Friends Fur Life” collection here.