Stella McCartney’s fall advertising campaign filmed at a Scottish landfill is a statement about waste and consumption and highlights the designer’s commitment to the environment. It should come as no surprise, then, that McCartney is one of the first designers to embrace consignment. While most luxury brands have ignored the sector, McCartney is entering into a strategic relationship with online luxury resale site The Real Real.
More than half of McCartney’s women’s collection is made from sustainable materials, and the brand is vegetarian. McCartney last year produced its first environmental profit and loss account, which placed a monetary value on the impact of its sourcing.
The Real Real founder and chief executive officer Julie Wainwright, said more than 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide each year, with 75 percent ending up in landfills. “We’re using up the planet’s resources at a rate that’s truly unsustainable,” she said.
“Stella McCartney has made a firm commitment to taking responsibility for the resources it uses and the impact it has on the environment,” Wainwright added. “The brand is embracing a new business model that will transform how clothes are produced, sold, shared, repaired and reused. Some of the most important actions that companies can take to reduce environmental impact is to design products that are built to last and promote the extended use of those items.”
The Real Real’s partnership with McCartney is designed to do just that. Launching in 2018, McCartney’s U.S. boutiques will offer information and programs to facilitate consigning. Both companies plan to host in-store panel discussions with experts about the circular economy. A Stella McCartney pop-up shop will open at The Real Real’s 8,000-square-foot concept store bowing in November on Wooster Street in Manhattan’s SoHo.
“Stella McCartney is making a statement to everyone,” Wainwright said. “It’s so bold of them. If other brands follow suit, it will be awesome. The fear is that we’re cannibalizing their business. Stella’s not worrying about that, because she knows it’s not true.”
“Sustainability is important to us and I’m excited to be partnering with The RealReal on this new sustainable program,” McCartney said. “We believe that consignment and re-commerce can play a significant part in reducing the amount of raw materials that are required each year from our planet. This is key in our commitment to becoming part of a more circular economy. By ensuring that our products are used for the entirety of their life cycle, it’s possible to begin to slow down the amount of natural resources being cultivated and extracted from the planet for the sake of fashion.”
McCartney’s parent, Kering, has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability. The French group, which also counts Gucci and Saint Laurent among its brands, in September was recognized for the third time by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices as the industry leader for the textiles, apparel and luxury goods sectors. “Stella McCartney is so serious,” Wainwright said. “They want to get to zero carbon footprint.”
Wainwright said The RealReal has established the first Monday in October as National Consignment Day. The holiday proclamation was conferred on The Real Real by National Day Calendar, a company that charges several thousand dollars for a designation. This year the holiday happens to coincide with McCartney’s spring 2018 runway show in Paris. The Real Real is launching the hashtag, #NeverThrowAway for National Consignment Day.