Vogue Global Conversations: Stella McCartney and Gabriela Hearst on sustainability

“All of a sudden sustainability has become an overused term,” Stella McCartney said during the talk with Gabriela Hearst and the director of Vogue España, Eugenia de la Torriente in the second talk of the Vogue Global Conversations on April 14th. The two stylists in conversation with de la Torriente talked about how to remain eco-aware and optimistic during the coronavirus epidemic.

“Personally, I consider sustainability a mental state. It is a question of balance. For me, what matters most is to use the natural resources that Mother Nature offers us in a conscious way and so as not to exhaust them, “said McCartney.

Hearst agrees with the colleague. “Sustainability is a practice and, as with any practice, you need to start with something challenging but achievable as your confidence and motivation grow as you achieve a goal and are ready to face another challenge.”

“After this emergency, we could go back to practices that were a norm before Covid-19 but I hope that’s not the case,” comments McCartney. “People who did not think like us are starting to understand that there is another option. And that gives me hope. I know for sure that there is another way and I hope other people will see it now. “

Here is below 3 key points emerged during the debate.

Being sustainable takes time

Creating eco-sustainable products takes time, and fashion does not always understand it.
“In our house, more than 60% of the time we dedicate in some way to the environment is concentrated in the study of raw materials. And in this field, you have to work years in advance, “says Stella McCartney. “I work with textile factories and spinning mills that serve many other luxury maisons but I turn to them well in advance because there is time to use crops more efficiently and with less pesticides. But also because there is then a way to transport the fabrics in a greener way. This is the reason why I say it takes longer. “

“We have set ourselves a goal by 2021: to ensure that 80 percent of our products are made of non-virgin materials. “We have been working on it for months, researching and storing data. Already now, at least 60% of our materials come from pre-existing materials “.
Not only that: in spring, the designer will launch “The Garment Journey”, a QR code contained in each label that will accompany each of its products, specifying in detail how the garment or accessory was made, from start to finish.

Scraps are a design flaw, which must be corrected

“Practicing sustainability means for us learning to work with limits and parameters that avoid waste. And I think that setting this goal is very positive for creativity, “comments Hearst. “As Stella said, we don’t live in an endless abundance of natural resources. We have to find a balance between production and consumption. I believe that scraps are a defect in the design process after all. They don’t exist in nature. “

Citing data showing that in February, during the freeze, carbon emissions in China decreased by 25%, McCartney said: “Even in such a short period of time, stopping for a moment, we were able to notice the capacity shooting nature. It is a great hope. Will we ever be able to heal the Earth? These data seem to tell us that we can do it. We just have to be confident. And to understand that we are consuming too much ”.

For the two designers, the use of reconditioned materials and sustainable fabrics is one of the ways that leads to the reduction of waste. “But in addition to the way we find raw materials, the positive aspect in environmental terms for our brand is the fact that we do not kill animals and this has a very positive impact on our environmental sustainability report. It’s a fact. But the positive thing is that for some time now people have been slowing down, keep asking questions and being a little more attentive to what they consume, “says McCartney.

Sustainability favors quality over quantity

“But certainly all the values ​​we put into our fashion garments are not enough if people don’t buy them,” says Hearst bluntly. “The consumer does not buy good intentions, but only an excellent product, well made. Let’s not forget it! ”.

Gabriela Hearst says that having grown up on a ranch in Uruguay has taught her that quality and sustainability are two values ​​inextricably linked. “I learned what sustainability is from a very practical point of view: in a place like this you have to build products that last. We always lived with little but that little was done so well as to withstand the impact of the forces of nature. “

“For my brand too, I chose to give priority to quality over quantity,” he says. He could have sold his famous bags wholesale and doubled his turnover, but this would also have meant doubling natural resources. “We chose a responsible approach, we preferred to grow slowly without overexposing ourselves and distributing more than we should.”

“Yes, therefore to wonderful, desirable, fashionable, well-made and timeless products, as Gabriela defines them. But this is the time to use resources responsibly and with respect, “adds McCartney. “We all know the production practices of the past. Now we can do better. I think this is the time to ask questions and then take a different action when we get back to work. “

The other Vogue Global Conversations

Register here forThe Future of E-Commerce with Angelica Cheung of Vogue China, Virgil Abloh of Off-White and Louis Vuitton Men, Stephanie Phair of Farfetch and The British Fashion Council, and Remo Ruffini of Moncler – April 16th at 3pm

Due to the numerous requests, this talk will also be available in streaming on YouTube quthe.

Register here for The Future of Brick and Mortar with Emanuele Farneti of Vogue Italia is The Vogue Man, Vittorio Radice of La Rinascente, Pete Nordstrom of Nordstrom and Pierre-Yves Roussel of Tory Burch – April 17th at 3pm

Due to the numerous requests, this talk will also be available in streaming on YouTube here.

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