Stella McCartney is teaming up with the UN to clean up fashion

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By WalterThornton

According to The GuardianStella McCartney is set to captain a UN charter that will combat the environmental and climatic degradation caused by the fashion industry. Along with a group of signatories made up of yet to be announced leading companies – some rumoured to be fast fashion brands – the British designer and animal-rights activist will target environmental threats caused by the fashion industry and combat them with eco-friendly business plans.

McCartney is aiming to create low-carbon strategies and promote the creation of pieces with less of an environmental footprint, proving that, if brands work together, sustainable practices don’t have to come at the cost of economic gains. “We really don’t have long now, to change things. But I honestly believe it’s doable,” she told the newspaper. “There is so much guilt and fear attached to talking about sustainability and that’s not helpful. What is essential is for the big players in the industry to come along with me.”

While the line-up of Stella McCartney’s residual UN team will be announced in Poland on December 10, today the designer also launched a charitable platform called Stella McCartney Cares Green, which pledges its support for sustainability. According to the website, the aim of the platform is to “focus on bridging the gap between the fashion industry and vital information and understanding on sustainability”.

From making clothes out of recycled waste to vegan Stan Smith trainers, what McCartney is currently doing to drive fashion forward is demonstrated in her extensive portfolio. “Everything that I do is a commitment to sustainability and to being responsible and ethical,” she recently told us.

Yesterday, a host of fast fashion brands including ASOS, Primark, Boohoo, and Missguided, were called upon to defend their practices of manufacturing cheap clothing (which therefore results in questionable labour) in British parliament. The UK consumes the most clothing of all European countries, with 235m items ending up in landfill last year. Could anyone have predicted the full-blown Gucci mania that would ensue when Amber Valletta took her first steps onto Tom Ford’s AW95 runway, close cut velvet trousers paired with a suggestively unbuttoned silk shirt? Proof of fashion’s knack for reinvention, the show sent the brand skyrocketing from struggling fashion house to byword for sex appeal and seductive glamour, causing sales to soar by 90%. “The next day you could not get into the showroom. It was absolute hysteria,” the designer revealed this week. But Ford wasn’t the only one to make headlines with his uncompromising designs – we resist five of the decade’s theatrical standout shows.


In 1992, two years after she debuted his infamous cone bra, Madonna joined Jean Paul Gaultier on the runway at a special Hollywood charity fashion show. But the real surprise came when she threw aside the smart blazer she was wearing to reveal her bare chest, freeing the nipple before #freethenipple was even a thing. The crowd, unsurprisingly, went wild, as did the press. Not one to shy away from a controversial statement, Madonna was promoting both her album Erotica and book Sex at the time.


Gianni Versace knew how to turn a brand into a superpower – the key was in the supermodels. For his AW91 collection, the Italian designer invited Linda EvangelistaCindy CrawfordNaomi Campbell and Christy Turlington to take to the catwalk, strutting their stuff in bold primary colours while lipsyncing to George Michael’s “Freedom”. Sexy and show-stealing, the press went into a frenzy over the amount of money the women had supposedly been paid – estimates ranging from £25,000 to £50,000. Of course, it wasn’t his only smash hit show of the 90s – another favourite, dubbed Miss S&M, saw models in leather corsets and high fashion bondage gear.


Chanel SS94 had all the style tropes of the 90s and then some. Bucket hats, oversized hair clips and rainbow extensions, even string CC branded bikinis. Models ranged from the voluptuous supers like Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell to androdgynous, shaven-headed girls in boxy shorts, wifebeater vests and Chanel branded suspenders. The future first lady of France Carla Bruni even took to the runway with blue hair extensions and a sports bra. Critics were divided over the collection’s sex appeal, with skirts “shorter than short”, a comment Lagerfeld brushed off – “We don’t talk about sleeve length, so why should we talk about hem length?” he said backstage.


Only John Galliano could send an haute couture parachute down an impossibly long water-bed style runway. Often referred to as the Matrix collection, his AW99 Couture show was a seminal spectacle for the designer, where models paraded in everything from split leather skirts and army berets to acid yellow silks, and outrageous taxidermy milinery. One model even carried a shotgun, while the final troupe had their skin spray painted into tanned stripes. The truly stunning procession of looks blended the historical Galliano loved so much with an uncompromisingly modern new vision, and yes, it was rounded off with an enormous pink parachute. If Instagram had existed, it would have been broken.