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25-01-2005
  16
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as a avid thrift shopper and vegie, I too have struggled with this question, esp. when it comes to fur (which I could never bring myself to buy) to leather, which I do. The way I look at it is by shopping at a thrift my $ is NOT going to support a company/industy which makes its profits by harming/farming animals. It instead goes to a charitible organization. The items have alreay been made and bought (by the original owner) and I don't see how their winding up in a dump somewhere really helps anything...

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25-01-2005
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stylegurll, i don't have a scanner...!! maybe try the daily telegraph website. I'll try now.

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Stella gets her groove back
(Filed: 25/01/2005)

She's the billionaire's daughter who went to a comprehensive school, the militant vegetarian who wears leather boots; no wonder the fashion designer Stella McCartney has spent most of her life on the defensive. Has her success – and impending motherhood – finally allowed her to relax? Almost, finds Sabine Durrant

Stella McCartney: a career in pictures

Stella McCartney, a vegetarian, has it written into her contract at Gucci, the parent company of her fashion label, that she won't work with leather or fur.

Wary of her public image: Stella McCartney

She is vocal in her condemnation of the coats of her friends – Madonna, say, or Gwyneth. ('I'm always, like, "What the f***k are you doing with that?"') She has banned the hunt from crossing her Worcestershire estate, and worked with the organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on a film about the brutality of animal slaughter. It's even been reported she won't sit on a leather chair.

'Nothing dead,' she once said, 'ever walks through my door.'

We've arranged to meet on neutral ground – a café near her London house – but none the less I've taken care not to upset her: tweed shoes, a canvas bag. At the last minute I remember my belt and dash to the loo to remove it. When she arrives the first thing I notice is her cowboy boots, the colour of pale calf, slightly battered. They look so much like leather it's uncanny.

'Yeah, I know,' she says, and tucks them out of sight. They must be the ones she sells – the veggie shoes that have been such a hit in her shops. I bend to admire them again, to touch them, but she's tucked her feet so far under her stool I can't reach them. It's only then it dawns that something dead may, actually, have walked out of her door.

'Oh, these are leather,' I say. 'No, wait, these are vintage,' she replies.

Around Stella McCartney some puzzling contradictions tend to cluster. Paul and Linda spent all those years in Sussex bringing up her and her siblings as normal kids: local comprehensive, country lanes, shared bedrooms. And yet it happened anyway: she finished her degree at Central St Martins in 1995 a ready-made McCartney model of pop chick/fashion/vintage/cool.

You'd think she'd do anything to prove she's more than her name, but she doesn't seem able to leave it alone. She called the perfume she launched in 2003 Stella because, 'It's the name that my Mum and Dad gave to me so it is very special,' which could be a sweet form of name-dropping.

She cares enough about the environment to create a wildlife haven on her 271-acre estate, to ask guests at her wedding (she married Alasdhair Willis, the former publisher of Wallpaper magazine, in 2003) to donate trees instead of gifts. And yet she works in an industry where it is considered normal to bike round a press pack comprising four cardboard folders containing between them 95 pieces of thick paper.

And, while she speaks in the streetwise half-mockney, half-transatlantic tones adopted by some young actresses and models – lots of 'kind of like's, and statements with question marks at the end, a sprinkling of swear-words to show she doesn't care – she is sufficiently removed from the realities of the street to be able to ask without a flicker of irony, 'Do you have a country house?'



There are those who'd like to believe her light on talent – a convenient brand for others to hang their coats on – who jump happily on the losses her label made in its first and second years (£2.7 million and £4.5 million respectively), and who see the flourishing of the Chloé brand since she left in 2001 (sales have reportedly risen by 40 per cent) as proof that the fourfold increases in sales under her tenure were due, all the time, to her friend, colleague and successor as head designer, Phoebe Philo.

But there are others passionate in their support for her – fashion editors, all those people who keep giving her big jobs – who blame market forces for her recent rockiness, who point at how her own style has softened and evolved since her (badly reviewed) first solo collection, and how a label needs time to develop, who would sell their right arm to get their left hand on a pair of her jeans. An e-mail from the fashion department at this magazine arrives headed 'We love Stella! We love Stella!'

After all the talk, all those sheets of paper, there's a little bit of the Wizard of Oz about this ordinary young woman in her beat-up cowboy boots in this small café in Notting Hill. The three of us – her publicist, Stéphane, a snake-hipped Frenchman, is here too – sit on stools at a bar by the window, which means Stella McCartney spends the whole time facing a reflection of Stella McCartney.

She is five months pregnant and has a bad back, which may be why her posture is so erect, her feet neatly together, her hands for the most part clenched in her lap. She is 33 and looks gentler, less sulky and more wholesome than in pictures – her reddish hair long and pulled back, no make-up on her cold-tinged face, the little extra plumpness adding softness to her features.

She's wearing a purple coat with straps and buttons, and seems too self-conscious about her bulge to take it off. 'I'm in total denial about buying stuff for being pregnant,' she says, wrapping it closely around her.

'I really do seem to have an issue with it. I go for anything big enough, anything that will fit me. This is, like, two seasons old.' 'Autumn/winter 03,' interjects Stéphane. McCartney: 'Exactly. I don't even know when it is.'

Stéphane: 'A year ago.'

'A year ago,' repeats McCartney.

Stéphane is here to check no questions are asked about McCartney's pregnancy or 'her family' (though both are subjects she keeps coming back to herself) and that we keep to Fashion, specifically the range of 'performance wear' she is launching for Adidas.

Stéphane is an insistent prompter. How does she choose what to put on when she's not pregnant?

'I go for the things everyone probably goes for. I don't go massively for what people think when they look at me. I go for comfort and ease and…'

Stéphane: 'Sexy as well, I think.' McCartney: 'Sexy. Yeah...'

What is she like as an employer (she has four designers working with her and, shops included, has 55 people on her payroll)? 'Oh God I don't know. The fact that I'm probably… I'm a boss! It's a worry! I have no idea. I think…'

Stéphane: 'A team player. I think that is something.'

How will the arrival of the baby in April change things?

'I don't really know. I'm sort of playing it by ear. I don't really know what one does, so I'm kinda like… I don't really wanna know? I think people will come to me, to my house, probably.'

Stéphane (soothingly): 'That's what we're going to do. That's what we're going to do.'

It's not that McCartney is chippy or defensive. She's clearly trying to be nice ('Aw bless,' she says to me at one point). It's more that she seems so crippled by how she'll be perceived, how you might present her, that she can't relax enough to reflect on a question properly.

Asked whether the physical changes of pregnancy affect her attitude to the female form, she snaps, 'I haven't got saggy tits. Yet. For the record.'

She says 'obviously I…' several times as if you know as much about her as she does. And a lot of her answers are tangled up in things that have been said about her in the past, or might be said about her in future. She 'hates', she says, the elitist element of what she does.



'I grew up buying clothes in high-street shops and, whether people like to think I'm talking a load of crap or not, I did.'

She may never have heard of Primart ('Primart? Where is Primart? You make me feel really uncool. Bloody hell'), but does she still wander into Topshop now and again?

'No. I haven't done for a really long time. I don't really go shopping any more. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I don't like getting recognised to be totally honest. I feel people would be going, "That's Stella McCartney. What the hell's she doing in Topshop?" Do you know what I mean?'

What about Trinny and Susannah – does she ever watch them? McCartney's chin hardens: 'Never.'

Stéphane: 'What? What?'

McCartney: 'Those two girls that talk about everyone, what they wear.'

Stéphane nods: 'What's it called? What To Wear? What Not To Wear?'

McCartney: 'They weren't very nice about me once, so obviously I don't warm to them.'

Stéphane: 'I think they rang up to borrow some clothes from you.'

McCartney: 'Oh, maybe they're nice about me now.' She smiles slyly. 'In which case I love it. It's my favourite programme.'

When she relaxes a little she allows herself to be more interesting. I tell her that I've just been to her shop in Bruton Street – 'Was that the first time? Naughty girl!' – and that I'd tried on two items: a floaty eau-de-nil jersey top that I'd loved ('Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wait for the sale. Perfect') and a ludicrous rust and orange silk bomber jacket that cost more than £1,000 and which I'd put on for a laugh but which felt quite nice on.

Active: McCartney's new 'performance' range has been developed with Adidas

'Yeah, I think so. I think it's the amount of padding we put in it and the kind of padding. It was to get that feeling of being wrapped in something and really cosy and protected, but then keep some kind of femininity?'

Would she say that her clothes are as much for how they feel as how they look?

'Definitely. I've always done that. I've always felt that was important. In my degree show I did all these slip dresses with the satin on the inside and the crêpe side out and it was really for me… There's something even more sexual, certainly as sexy, to a garment if you the wearer have secrets, and you the wearer are having an experience. I think it lends itself to how you carry yourself and your attitude.

'Obviously I've always loved antiques and vintage things. I went through a real spell of wearing vintage stockings, finding brand new packets of them in flea markets, and I've always loved that thing about stockings – only you know that you've got stockings on. The guy doesn't know – unless he gets lucky – and it's just so sexy.

'There's something really important in that. I think fashion is about psychological, you know, responses to things and that's part of the job.' She pauses, and then with sudden dryness: 'Thank God. You tried on two things that fitted well. It's rare to hear that in my industry.'

She has reached a stage in her life, she goes on to say, 'when I know I have to be true to myself. I think probably part of my upbringing has made me so I can't function on things that are purely financially based. For me, you know, I really have to have a belief behind it.

'I base all of my decisions on whether it's going to be an interesting project and whether it's going to have validity and when I can talk about it and not actually talk a load of crap.'

Enter Adidas. They approached her about designing for their 'old-school' division, 'and I thought, "How much can I do with three stripes running down a nylon sweatpant?" That's not the biggest challenge for me.'

Instead, she suggested she work on their 'high-performance' side, using new technical materials.

'I think they're surprised at how hands-on I've been. I'm very verbal. They learnt about bringing detail back to sportswear. I question every single thing.'

Stéphane interrupts: 'And the colour palette as well. You made a big influence on that.'

McCartney glances at him and continues.

'Women are not educated in what they have to wear technically to enhance what they're doing. Sneakers are always crap, they're baby pink or baby blue, they're like My Little Pony. They're offensive. I don't see the reason for that.

'I'm like, "Why? Give me a reason for that?" Why is it that I always want the guy's sneaker but they don't do my size? Why is it when they do the guy's sneaker for women, they do it a nasty colour? Like, why is that? Who is designing this stuff?'

She is rubbing her face as she talks, and when she takes her hand away there's a red mark. 'I could talk about it until the cows come home,' she says, then goes quiet.

Stéphane says, 'It takes a year and a half to develop a sole.'

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25-01-2005
  19
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Now if only Stella could learn to use some shampoo and soap

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25-01-2005
  20
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from the article, continued:

Something changes shortly after this – as if she has let some sort of feeling through her defences – and McCartney starts talking about her mother, who died in 1998.

'She would have loved some of the things I've done recently,' she tells me. 'She would have loved all my veggie shoes and she would have dug the Adidas thing. She'd have loved the perfume. It's a bummer. At the weekend I really wanted to call her, talk crap down the phone. I didn't have anything to say, just sort of babble. She was the classiest woman I know. And class? You can't buy class, you know?

'She wasn't like Jackie O – you don't think of her like that – but just the way she handled herself and the decisions she made and the way she interacted with people was so fluid and natural and classy. It wasn't about her. It was about everyone else.'

I tell her that a journalist I know once almost fainted when he went to interview her father and that her mother had been sweet to him. She smiles.

'I would expect nothing less from my mother. People always have stories like that. "I met your parents once; your dad was in a bad mood and your mum came in and said, 'Do you want a cup of tea?'" It's really reaffirming to hear that.'

It seems to be all right now to talk about her family, to touch on her daily life. She spends the week in London, and the weekend in Worcestershire where she's having a garden made. ('Not cheap are they, gardens? Bloody hell. But part of the beauty of it is watching it grow. It's going to sound really naff on paper, that.')

At the moment she is 'being, like, this perfect role-model pregnant woman. I don't go out. I'm not drinking.'

She walks or cycles with her dog, a border collie called Red, in Hyde Park. She usually rides her horse Flo Jo as much as she can, but she's promised her husband – 'a good egg' – that she won't for the moment.

'My mum rode every single day, all of her life, but we're not as free as they were then. She was being a bit of a hippy living in Scotland when she had me. And if anything happened, I'd feel terrible. I'm not only responsible for myself and the baby. I've got Alasdhair to think about. I'll be back on my horse the moment I've squeezed it out. Can't wait.'

She met Willis at a meeting – his company was pitching for (and won) the contract to design her logo. (He wears amber – 'very masculine and sexy' – which, along with her mother's love of roses, was one of the inspirations for her perfume.) She's got some 'really amazing friends', but none from school – 'my school thing was wrapped around that learning experience of being a kid of someone. I was very wary and protective, jumpy, not very settled about it' – or from St Martins (where Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell modelled at her degree show).

'No. It was all fashiony. Everyone loved fashion and it was a bit, like, eugh.'

People like to say relations are strained between her and Phoebe Philo, whom she met at St Martins (and who has just had a baby). It would be a good opportunity to put the record straight, to congratulate Philo on being Designer of the Year perhaps, but she doesn't.

She's close to her siblings, she says – her half-sister, Heather, her older sister, Mary, and younger brother, James. And, though 'I would not be so immodest as to say I'm the best auntie in the world', she is 'madly in love' with Mary's two children. She doesn't mention Paul's daughter from his second marriage to the model Heather Mills. Neither her half-sister Heather nor her brother James has children, so Mary's, she says, 'are the only kids so far'.

At the end of the interview she looks tired. It's late Friday afternoon, but she has more meetings before she can go home. That morning she was at a costume-hire place doing research for her next collection ('Autumn/winter 2005,' says Stéphane). Her sales are reportedly up 65 per cent, her last collection had good reviews, and Robert Polet, the new chief executive of the Gucci group, has given her and the group's other eponymous label, Alexander McQueen, until 2007 to break even.

'I'm working at so many different million things at the same time,' she says. 'It's hard…'

As we stand up she wriggles her shoulders to stretch out her back. When she looks at her feet again, your heart goes out. The famous daughter, the fashion designer, the ordinary woman who makes mistakes.

'The cowboy boots I should have worn,' she says, 'are the ones from the last winter show – like, fake leather with canvas in the middle? And then it wouldn't have come up.'

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Last edited by impossibleprincess; 25-01-2005 at 10:09 PM.
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25-01-2005
  21
Rebaptising my badness
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discostu
as a avid thrift shopper and vegie, I too have struggled with this question, esp. when it comes to fur (which I could never bring myself to buy) to leather, which I do. The way I look at it is by shopping at a thrift my $ is NOT going to support a company/industy which makes its profits by harming/farming animals. It instead goes to a charitible organization. The items have alreay been made and bought (by the original owner) and I don't see how their winding up in a dump somewhere really helps anything...
But then you have a problem with the companies making money, and not with the cruelty against animals in general. I'm sorry, but it sounds incoherent to me.

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25-01-2005
  22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impossibleprincess
from the article, continued:

Something changes shortly after this – as if she has let some sort of feeling through her defences – and McCartney starts talking about her mother, who died in 1998.

'She would have loved some of the things I've done recently,' she tells me. 'She would have loved all my veggie shoes and she would have dug the Adidas thing. She'd have loved the perfume. It's a bummer. At the weekend I really wanted to call her, talk crap down the phone. I didn't have anything to say, just sort of babble. She was the classiest woman I know. And class? You can't buy class, you know?

'She wasn't like Jackie O – you don't think of her like that – but just the way she handled herself and the decisions she made and the way she interacted with people was so fluid and natural and classy. It wasn't about her. It was about everyone else.'

I tell her that a journalist I know once almost fainted when he went to interview her father and that her mother had been sweet to him. She smiles.

'I would expect nothing less from my mother. People always have stories like that. "I met your parents once; your dad was in a bad mood and your mum came in and said, 'Do you want a cup of tea?'" It's really reaffirming to hear that.'

It seems to be all right now to talk about her family, to touch on her daily life. She spends the week in London, and the weekend in Worcestershire where she's having a garden made. ('Not cheap are they, gardens? Bloody hell. But part of the beauty of it is watching it grow. It's going to sound really naff on paper, that.')

At the moment she is 'being, like, this perfect role-model pregnant woman. I don't go out. I'm not drinking.'

She walks or cycles with her dog, a border collie called Red, in Hyde Park. She usually rides her horse Flo Jo as much as she can, but she's promised her husband – 'a good egg' – that she won't for the moment.

'My mum rode every single day, all of her life, but we're not as free as they were then. She was being a bit of a hippy living in Scotland when she had me. And if anything happened, I'd feel terrible. I'm not only responsible for myself and the baby. I've got Alasdhair to think about. I'll be back on my horse the moment I've squeezed it out. Can't wait.'

She met Willis at a meeting – his company was pitching for (and won) the contract to design her logo. (He wears amber – 'very masculine and sexy' – which, along with her mother's love of roses, was one of the inspirations for her perfume.) She's got some 'really amazing friends', but none from school – 'my school thing was wrapped around that learning experience of being a kid of someone. I was very wary and protective, jumpy, not very settled about it' – or from St Martins (where Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell modelled at her degree show).

'No. It was all fashiony. Everyone loved fashion and it was a bit, like, eugh.'

People like to say relations are strained between her and Phoebe Philo, whom she met at St Martins (and who has just had a baby). It would be a good opportunity to put the record straight, to congratulate Philo on being Designer of the Year perhaps, but she doesn't.

She's close to her siblings, she says – her half-sister, Heather, her older sister, Mary, and younger brother, James. And, though 'I would not be so immodest as to say I'm the best auntie in the world', she is 'madly in love' with Mary's two children. She doesn't mention Paul's daughter from his second marriage to the model Heather Mills. Neither her half-sister Heather nor her brother James has children, so Mary's, she says, 'are the only kids so far'.

At the end of the interview she looks tired. It's late Friday afternoon, but she has more meetings before she can go home. That morning she was at a costume-hire place doing research for her next collection ('Autumn/winter 2005,' says Stéphane). Her sales are reportedly up 65 per cent, her last collection had good reviews, and Robert Polet, the new chief executive of the Gucci group, has given her and the group's other eponymous label, Alexander McQueen, until 2007 to break even.

'I'm working at so many different million things at the same time,' she says. 'It's hard…'

As we stand up she wriggles her shoulders to stretch out her back. When she looks at her feet again, your heart goes out. The famous daughter, the fashion designer, the ordinary woman who makes mistakes.

'The cowboy boots I should have worn,' she says, 'are the ones from the last winter show – like, fake leather with canvas in the middle? And then it wouldn't have come up.'

Thank you very much for the article.

Ok now I have read and I see I can be a little less hard on here- but as someone said she has been hard on others, so I understand where everyone is coming from. But I think she is human we all do this.

I will still use leather and still eat my raw food. We all have a soapbox at one time or another, we just must prepare ourselves for the mishaps. :p

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25-01-2005
  23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stylegurrl
There are people who are 100% vegan and who are very devoted in their beliefs. Stella's brother James is an extreme vegan and won't even eat honey because it is an animal product.

Stella has spent her entire career denouncing leather and fur and denouncing anyone who works with or wears them. I distinctly remember an interview she did in which she chastized Phoebe Philo for designing leather bags and shoes for Chloe. She basically said that some people have no principles and are only in it for the money. She also had it written into her contract that she would use no leather or fur. All of a sudden she thinks "vintage leather" is OK? I find that odd. I am neither veggie nor vegan but I have a problem with someone who gets on a soap box preaching to others then does a 360 in order to be fashionable.
I do agree that she shouldn't be so vocal if she chooses to wear leather, even vintage one. Vegan diets do not include honey, but being 100% vegan is nearly impossible..you run into those tiny nuances such as bugs you step on when you walk, public items you use that have animal products (such as bus seats, chairs, airplanes..etc). By definition, vegans would be cramped up in their houses ordering takeout and even then, would probably end up growing their own foods, as the driver probably ran over a bunch of bugs on the way to their houses. There is really no way to be 100% vegan according to the definition.

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26-01-2005
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Impossibleprincess you are an angel! Thank you so much for posting the article.

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26-01-2005
  25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemova
But then you have a problem with the companies making money, and not with the cruelty against animals in general. I'm sorry, but it sounds incoherent to me.
I guess my point is I don’t want to cause any living animals any harm – as for the ones that have already been killed there’s nothing I can do for them. It’s a coat hanging in a shop. My main sticking point is the notion of continuing the idea of real fur as being glamorous (not that I am glam by any means). . And I know even vintage can also have its dark side… Case in point Kate Moss (who I ) wearing an APE fur coat… or so the caption said… that’s just creepy!

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26-01-2005
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Whats with that Stepahane and his constant interruptions, it's like he needs to feed the woman the answers.

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26-01-2005
  27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discostu
I guess my point is I don’t want to cause any living animals any harm – as for the ones that have already been killed there’s nothing I can do for them. It’s a coat hanging in a shop. My main sticking point is the notion of continuing the idea of real fur as being glamorous (not that I am glam by any means). . And I know even vintage can also have its dark side… Case in point Kate Moss (who I ) wearing an APE fur coat… or so the caption said… that’s just creepy!
I get your point.

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26-01-2005
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i am a vegan, and i don't mind wearing the accessories that i bought before i was vegan. i also think there is nothing wrong with buying second-hand leather since you are not supposrting the leather industry/slaughter of animals by buying new items.

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26-01-2005
  29
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Well it is hypocrtical, but I understand it, I don't eat meat, exept for sushi, but I wear some elather (belts mainly).

I'm still glad that people are making stylish animal free shoes though.

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13-09-2005
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It actually whould be hypocrtical for her to let the shoes go to waste and not wear them...think about it...

The cow has already been slain
the shoes have already been made
they have already been sold
the company already made a profit
and the company continued their practices supported by their sales and consumer demand...

NOW

Fast forward to where the shoes have been used for quite some time and find themselves in a vintage store and Mcartney buys them. Her purchase does not feed into the industry that promotes the slaying of animals for leather. Her money goes to the vintage store owners and no further. It's not because they aren't new that it is ok, it is that it's outside of the cycle and relatively benign.

What is more scandalous is her narrating a wool industry docmentary for peta that shows the horror of it and then goes on to show wool coat in her last collection.

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