The Tao of Stella McCartney

“People have made fun of me for years—I’m not cool because I do vegetarian shoes, but the thing is, I’m the most f______ punk rock of all of them.”

I’ve always admired British fashion designer STELLA McCARTNEY’s authenticity, her strident commitment to sustainable living, and despite having incredibly famous parents how she’s managed to establish her own brand and identity. Of course when Stella was first starting out she didn’t get any respect from the fashion elite because of those facts, but I think it’s safe to say that Stella has not only proven the naysayers wrong, but she’s surpassed many of them in several aspects.

At 25-years old, two years removed from Central Saint Martins, Stella made waves when she was appointed creative director at Chloè. To add fuel to the fire, Stella entered the fashion arena determined not to use any leather or fur in her collections, so there was this audible gasp and belief in her naivety: Who does she think she is?

Fast forward fifteen years and Stella has not only silenced her critics, but she’s established her brand based on an approach to women’s dressing that not only represents her beliefs, but showcases her skills as a master tailor with a knack for creating chic and sustainable accessories that women clamor for around the world. All things considered, Stella could be the toast of the town every night in London, but instead Stella retreats to her farm to spend time with her family most weekends.

Clearly not one to rest on past laurels or her last name, Stella continues to expand her reach designing sportswear for Adidas and the London Olympics last year to critical acclaim, so it’s only fitting that the Queen would acknowledge her contributions to the art of fashion with the well deserved Order of the British Empire.

Now, here’s Stella in her own words on her life, career and fashion philosophy:

“I look at things very differently from other designers. I am trying to pick up on the environment in which we live, so I have a different point of view. And then in other ways, I don’t. I also believe in luxury, great quality, great clothing, what all good designers believe in.”

“When it comes to how business is done, people pretty much follow the same rules. Obviously I believe that using crocodile or leather to make a handbag is cruel. But it’s also not modern, you’re not pushing innovation.”

“I like to design things that allow women to be themselves but at the same time offer something that they might not have thought of or that they wouldn’t have dared to do.”

“I remember rifling through my father’s Beatles outfits when I was in college, and apart from being really struck by the fact that they were too small for me, inside the pockets there was the label ‘Paul McCartney 1962’. As much as the cut and the material and the masculinity of them, it was that label that made me obsessed with Savile Row tailoring. It had such a big impact on what I do.”

“My mom’s dad always used to say it was important to have staying power. And I’ve always really believed in that. My main thing with the brand, and as a human being, is to have staying power. To not disappear.”

Sources: Financial Times/Harper’s Bazaar/Interview/Simon Watson/Style/Time

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