Stella McCartney’s signature style of sharp tailoring, natural confidence and sexy femininity has wowed the industry since she launched her eponymous line in 2001. A lifelong vegan, Stella translated her strong ethical and sustainable values into her own label – refusing to use fur or leather in an industry built on handbags and shoes – proving to top houses we can bring our values into our business, and thrive.
Since 2011, Stella McCartney has been working in partnership with Kenya for a portion of her line’s handmade accessories, specifically in screen-printing and tailoring. A new video by Stella McCartney x the Ethical Fashion Initiative showcases a behind the scenes look at the brand’s devotion and positive impact in the region.
“5,000 people in Kenya are involved with the Initiative. Ninety percent of them are women, mostly from disadvantaged or isolated communities. Poverty and female inequality can not be eradicated by simply dishing out cash handouts. Instead, they provide employment and support … the empowerment of the women working for us has to be one of the meaningful to me.” – Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney was an ideal match in joining forces with the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s mission of building a responsible fashion industry. The Ethical Fashion Initiative continues its efforts to produce quality fashion goods, under ethical and fair conditions, with artisans in East & West Africa and Haiti.
Every season, Stella McCartney produces a tote bag line with artisans in Kenya via the Ethical Fashion Initiative. Each item is made by human hands and the stories of each artisan are woven into every bag. Every Stella McCartney order positively impacts the lives of the artisans. The artisans working on the Stella McCartney were paid a fair wage. In many cases, the earnings from the order were used to pay for education of the worker’s children.
This means the positive impact of the order extended beyond the worker to benefit family and the community. In addition to receiving a fair wage for the Stella McCartney order, workers were given access to training to help improve their skills, ensuring their ability to meet the high quality standard of the order. Receiving training also helped boost their levels of confidence.
Go behind the scenes and discover the Kenyan production of Stella McCartney’s AW14 Noemi totes.
About the International Trade Centre Ethical Fashion Initiative
The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The Ethical Fashion Initiative links the world’s top fashion talents to marginalized artisans – the majority of them women – in East and West Africa, Haiti and the West Bank. The Ethical Fashion Initiative enables fashion’s rising new generation of talent to forge environmentally sound, sustainable and fulfilling creative collaborations with artisans from poor nations such as Burkina Faso, Haiti, Kenya, Mali and the West Bank. Under its slogan, “NOT CHARITY, JUST WORK.” the Ethical Fashion Initiative advocates a fairer global fashion industry.
The Ethical Fashion Initiative is proud of its long-term partnerships around the world including Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Isetan, Carmina Campus, sass & bide, Stella Jean, Osklen, Chan Luu, United Arrows.
photos c/o Tahir Karmali + Ethical Fashion Initiative