It’s widely known that Stella McCartney doesn’t use fur in her collections. Less touted, perhaps, is the vegan designer’s rejection of leather. In a new video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, timed to coincide with New York Fashion Week, McCartney explains why she shed the use of animal skins. Leather isn’t a by-product of the meat industry, she says, but an important co-product that contributes directly to the ills of factory farming. But although PETA planned to run a truncated version of the PSA on taxi screens across Manhattan, fashion’s tastemakers will not, in fact, be schooled by McCartney between shows.
VeriFone Media, which manages advertising and media programming in nearly 12,000 of the city’s yellow cabs, put the kibosh on PETA’s proposal as swiftly as it was submitted, according to The Discerning Brute’s Joshua Katcher. “It’s illogical that they’re willing to play a promotion selling fashion objects, but if you dare to explain how a fashion object is made, you’re silenced,” he tells us over email. “The reality of fashion production is not often as beautiful or lucrative as the fairy tale spun about the object afterwards.”
PETA planned to run the public service announcement in cabs across New York City but faced rejection from VeriFone Media.
But McCartney says her goal isn’t to censure or hector. “Our aim is not to tell you what to wear but to give you the facts so you can make an informed decision the next time you’re considering buying leather,” she says. Not that her message doesn’t ring crystal clear, of course. “As a designer, I like to work with fabrics that don’t bleed; that’s why I avoid all animal skins,” she says.
The video is worth watching; despite the talk of cow castration and dismemberment, it’s not as graphic as you might expect. McCartney, with her dulcet tone and measured cadence (her father was a Beatle, after all), is also a compelling narrator. “Please join me in exploring the huge variety of fashionable shoes, belts, purses, and, wallets that aren’t the product of a cow’s violent death,” she entreats. Shifted your position on leather? You can sign a pledge to go faux on PETA’s website.