The Stella Effect? It’s Been a Big Week for Cruelty-Free Fashion

Photo: Well+Good Creative
Years ago, almost every model on the runway was rocking a piece that featured leather or fur, whether it was sky-high heels or floor-length coat. Once Stella McCartney lunched her own label in 2001, the lifelong activist—who has never harmed an animal in her path to success—quickly proved being cruelty-free can be both chic and lucrative. And this week the Stella effect was especially apparent as some of the biggest brands in high fashion decided to follow in her ethical footsteps.

When McCartney first made it clear no animal products would ever be used in her products, it was pretty much unheard of: fur was fashion. But focusing on eco-friendly alternatives from the get-go turned out to be a smart move. Not only has she scored cool collabs with big brands like Adidas, but she also designed one of the gowns, fellow animal lover and activist Meghan Markle rocked on her wedding day. In fact, she's been so successful that she was able to buy back the other half of her brand earlier this year, becoming the sole owner after a 17-year partnership, reports Vogue.

That success is something that stands out, and it's, perhaps, giving other brands the confidence to change their ways, too. Adidas announced this week that, as part of McCartney's collab with the sportswear giant, the first-ever leather-free Stan Smiths will be available starting September 10. The classic sneaker has been a staple in Adidas' collection for years, and the newest version is totally vegan—crafted from 100-percent recycled polyester.

Burberry also announced this week that it's banning real fur and will be phasing out the products that currently use it. They're not the first by any means, though: Versace, Gucci, Fendi, Armani, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karen/DKNY have all previously done the same thing. There's really no better time to do so, either—especially considering San Francisco became the first major US city to ban all fur sales earlier this year, and it certainly won't be the last.

Hopefully more and more brands continue to take notes from this ethically-minded designer. Then soon enough, the Stella effect will make its way over the entire fashion industry—and save a whole lot of animals in the process.

Here are some tips to put a high-fashion twist on your activewear outfits. Or find out how you can actually make money reselling your leggings and sneakers.

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