Stellllla! Stellllla!

No, this isn't about Streetcar Named Desire.

Once upon a time Stella McCartney's title was "vegan fashion designer" and then it sort of switched to "ethical fashion designer and animal lover" or "animal-friendly fashion designer".  Frankly, she was using wool before people stopped calling her a "vegan fashion designer", which always caused me nitpicky pains because no one in the fashion world could manage to put together that using wool is not in the definition of vegan, animal-lover or not.  Yes, it's rilly rilly hard being me.

{an example of SMC wool, link in the flickr picture}

Refinery 29 recently noted that Stella is making wool bags from sheep that are ethically shorn, presumably her own stock.  I'm not going to get into having pets you shear ethically (or cats' or dogs' brushed hair from which you knit scarves or vests or whatever) but I just wanted to address the part about using animal parts for things you are going to sell.

And I am going to be lazy about it and quote an older blog post of mine, Dressing Vegan:

I know there are some humane alpaca farms out there and once upon a time I did briefly consider it. But it came down to me not being comfortable with any situation where the animal is a commodity – because it can very quickly be lip service vs actually humane (like “free range” birds who still never see the light of day). When the animals are done being "useful", what happens to them?  And I just don’t need to wear animal hair that much. It sounds silly but I don’t mind a challenge here and there to avoid that stuff and find something else.

Basically, even if her sheep are ethically shorn, it reinforces that there is a market for animal bits in fashion.  It's very hard to qualify if sheep are, indeed, ethically shorn as there are no third-party certifiers.  (If you know anything about farm animal third-party certifications, even that is a mixed bag of murky definitions and false connotation - i.e. free range vs pasture-raised.)  I trust that given who she is, her sheep are likely ethically shorn, but I don't trust that others who make that claim are.

The more animals used in apparel, the more animals are at risk for being mistreated by being considered a commodity - a thing - rather than a being.

I'm not posting this to be uppity about Stella McCartney (or to fulfill my one animal rights diatribe of the month) but to at least have one point of view - live and on the internet! - that counters the idea that humane shearing is a totally awesome idea.

{The funny thing is that the bag's content on Stella's site is listed as faux fur}


  1. I like the idea of ethical sheering! But to be honest, all of my clothes are man-made materials (lol, I am cheap I guess?) But this is a great topic to be conscious of when shopping.


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