Designer Stella McCartney has partnered with the Collaborative Fund to invest in and support entrepreneurs focused on building a more sustainable fashion future.
The new $200 million McCartney-led fund is targeting companies at the Series A and B levels that are working to develop sustainable materials, ingredients, energy, and supply chains.
“I am proud to announce the launch of S🌎S fund in collaboration with my dear friend Craig from @CollabFund. Our $200M fund invests into cleaner businesses, founders and sustainable solutions — creating a brighter, more hopeful future for us all. I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come,” McCartney wrote on Instagram.
“Beyond her work as an incredible designer and entrepreneur, Stella is a well-known environmental activist, a champion of animal rights, a lifelong vegan, a pioneer in sustainable materials, and an overall cool person,” Craig Shapiro, Founder and Managing Partner at Collaborative Fund said in a statement.
The designer, daughter of Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney, has been at the forefront of ethical fashion. Last month, the label’s highly anticipated handbag made from mushroom leather launched. It uses a mycelium material made by U.S.-based Bolt Threads to replace the look and feel of cow leather. McCartney said the leather was five years in development.
McCartney x sustainable luxury
McCartney has led the luxury industry to sustainable materials, namely leather alternatives—an industry research firm Global Research says could reach nearly $90 billion by 2025.
The luxury industry has seen a swell of innovations in recent years—many materializing in the wake of McCartney’s innovations. Her Mylo mushroom leather bag was preceded by a proof of concept vegan leather corset and pants made with the material. She’s also led a number of partnerships with Adidas, including a vegan version of the label’s iconic Stan Smith sneaker.
The industry has followed suit.
Louis Vuitton recently released trainers made from vegan and sustainable materials. Last year it launched its first vegan unisex sneakers. Gucci’s Off the Grid collection embraces upcycled and sustainable materials. Valentino also dived into eco footwear with a collection earlier this year made from renewable leather materials. Danish label Ganni has denounced leather, pledging to phase it out by next year.
Most notably, there’s Hermès. The French luxury label known for its leather works announced it was working on a vegan leather bag made from mushroom leather developed by U.S.-based MycoWorks.
Last year, McCartney, along with Burberry and Kering—Gucci’s parent company—joined forces with the Apparel Impact Institute on an initiative dubbed “The Italy Project.” Its aim is to improve the luxury fashion industry’s supply chain, specifically for manufacturers to “coordinate, fund, and scale environmental programs with measurable impact.” The brands will work on their individual value chains and collaborate to develop industry best practices for key areas including energy and water use as well as chemicals.
“Fashion brands have always been a little quiet and secretive about their supply chains,” Lewis Perkins, the president of AII, told Vogue last year. “With this project, Burberry, Stella, and Kering are coming to the table and publicly collaborating across a shared supply chain. It’s really exciting to see that even in the pandemic, these brands were so willing to get behind it.”
The designer was ever present at last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, where she documented the event in a series of diary-style posts on Instagram.
“If we want to save all our skins from the consequences of the climate and biodiversity crises, we need to stop fashion’s use of animal leather and furs. Mushrooms present a vegan alternative that can be grown regeneratively, renewably and quickly. How can you not be obsessed with these fantastic fungi?,” the designer said during the climate event.
“Younger people will suffer the consequences of climate change and are so much more aware of it as a problem, but also its potential solutions,” she said. “When they speak, we owe it to them to listen.”
McCartney also brings a playful approach to her work. In January, she designed a sustainable pantsuit for Minnie Mouse in a Disney collaboration celebrating both women in the workforce and sustainable materials.
“Minnie has always had a special place in my heart,” McCartney said in a press video. “We share the same values, and what I love about Minnie is that she personifies happiness, self-expression, authenticity…plus she has such great style.”