Mary Kaye Schilling

Stella McCartney Has Always Shunned Leather, Fur and Feathers: Now She's Going Even Further

Consider your favorite T-shirt. Maybe it’s soft and worn, or fitted and new, or a recent pickup from a Kanye West or Taylor Swift tour. Whatever the style, chances are good the shirt contains polyester–a significant environmental pollutant that takes 200 years to degrade. If you don’t want the shirt to spend those years in a landfill, you could try passing it on for seven generations; maybe in two it would be fashionably retro. Even then, as you wash Kanye and Taylor (though never together), they will be shedding synthetic microfibers into the oceans. Now think about all the people in the world doing the same thing–humans consume 80 billion pieces of clothing a year, as reported in the 2015 documentary The True Cost–and you get a sense of how the apparel industry has become one of the most polluting on earth.

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