McCartney’s call for “fabrics that don’t bleed”

McCartney calls for leather accessories to be abolished ©Wikimedia Commons

Fashion weeks worldwide are as notorious for the scandals off the catwalk as for the clothes on it. In 2006, model Luisel Ramos died at a fashion week in Uruguay, creating headlines worldwide, after surviving on a diet of lettuce and Diet Coke. This sparked the size zero debate which stills rumbles on behind the scenes today.

This week has seen the fashion eyes, and figures, of the world descending on London for the SS2012 fashion week, hot off of the heels of New York last week, and Paris prior to that. Whilst the Twittersphere has been rife with the latest trends and upcoming designers, other parts of the web have been preoccupied with more serious matters.

This time around, the controversy stemmed from Stella McCartney, fashion designer and daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney, who teamed up with PETA ((People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to launch the first ever anti-leather campaign. PETA run various campaigns to end animal cruelty.

The video can be seen here, and features McCartney urging the fashion industry to avoid the use of leather in producing accessories and choose “fabrics that don’t bleed” instead. McCartney gives a vivid description of the treatment that cows slaughtered for their skin receive, and it’s not one for the faint hearted.

As well as McCartney, designers such as Marc Bouwer, Natalie Portman and Joan Jett have already pledged to avoid use of animal skins in their collections.

Whether the video will have the desired effect remains to be seen. Undeniably similar campaigns to remove fur from the catwalk and the high street have been mostly, if not completely, effective, although the process took many years. On the other hand, the multiple campaigns to remove size zero models from the catwalk have been less successful, with many designers still criticised today for the unhealthy and unobtainable body image they project.

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