Designer Stella McCartney is taking what I’ll call a “Tesla approach” to fashion.
Tesla wasn’t happy with today’s batteries and wanted better ones for its electric cars, so the company constructed a massive factory devoted to improving battery technology and building better products. Next, it’ll sell those batteries to other electric car manufacturers, bringing the whole industry along.
McCartney–a lifelong vegetarian–is doing something similar with silk. Fast Company reports:
McCartney’s latest venture is a collaboration with Bolt Threads, an eight-year-old startup that has created a product called Microsilk, which is bioengineered to mimic the chemistry and strength of real silk created by spiders in nature. The resulting material will be a triple win if it can be produced at enough scale to be used in fashion: No insects are killed or harmed, the use of petroleum is limited, and manufacturing it does not require resources like land or water.
But rather than leave other labels in the dust, McCartney wants to bring them along with her. She knows that by developing and using environmentally friendly materials in her own collections, and talking about it, she can apply pressure to luxury fashion and all apparel to follow suit. Ultimately, her goal is to make real cultural change in the world.