Stella McCartney started out as the daughter of a Beatle and a celebrity vegetarian, and ended up one of the world's top luxury fashion designers—as well as the only one who refuses to use leather and fur. Starting out as a Central Saint Martins student who convinced Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Yasmin le Bon to model in her graduate collection, she quickly ascended the ranks of the industry to land a job at 26 as the creative director of Paris fashion house Chloé, before chucking it all in to start her own eponymous label a few years later.
Over a decade—including seven British Fashion Awards and one OBE—later, the designer has been hailed as one of Britain's most successful designers, and one of the most prominent female designers in the world. Grimes and Amandla Stenberg are just some of the most recent faces of the brand. Her intelligent, effortlessly modern, and feminine clothes are sold in stores from Tokyo to New York, but she's designed everything from sneakers for Adidas to Madonna's wedding dress (we forget which wedding) and the Team Great Britain kit for the Olympics.
But she hasn't made it easy for herself. In an industry built on sales of leather accessories—and years before it became trendy to talk about sustainability—McCartney was spearheading a critical conversation about the fashion industry's dubious track record on ethical manufacturing. And she's not afraid to narrate gruesome PETA videos of animals being flayed for their skins if that helps her make the point, either.
Beneath the cuddly animal politics is a working mother who's grown her business into an international brand with rising profits and a steely dedication to design that flatters women, not trends. In this episode of Broadly Meets, we sit down with Stella McCartney to gain insight into how she runs a global fashion house and still finds time to party at the Brit Awards the night before.