Stella McCartney’s latest campaign sparks controversy on Instagram

"Seems like hypocrisy at its finest."

Stella McCartney’s brand has, for years, been a pioneer in sustainable fashion. Recently, the brand has been criticised on Instagram for its very confusing Winter 2019 campaign featuring Extinction Rebellion.

If you’re unfamiliar with the organisation, Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to fight the climate emergency we’re facing globally. They recently launched a Boycott Fashion campaign, asking people to boycott fashion by pledging to not buy new clothing or textiles for 52 weeks.

Now, the same activists that took part in the boycotting are starring in the brand’s campaign and users have been sharing their doubts and opinions on the brand’s Instagram page. “How do your clothes fit into this? Surely we need to stop buying and producing as many new clothes, yet you are still creating as fashion dictates per season. I find it a confusing message,” someone pointed out. “What are you doing to actively end production and consumption, fueled by the capitalist structures for which your brand participates? Seems like hypocrisy at its finest,” someone else wrote.

Tori Tsui, a XR representative, told Vogue: “I think there is a mutual understanding between Extinction Rebellion’s boycott on fashion and what Stella is trying to achieve. What the boycott is meant to do is tell the story of an emergency. We know it won’t be realistic for everyone, but if you can’t boycott fashion entirely, buy sustainable.”

According to Sara Arnold, another XR coordinator, Stella is simply using her platform to give XR a platform and create conversation. Boycotting and consumerism don’t exactly go hand in hand but perhaps both McCartney and XR wanted to simply spark some controversy.

“The system we’re in prevents us from being perfect, and I think the best thing we can do right now is show up and have a conversation about it,” added Tori Tsui.

21 August 2019