Luxury Fashion Designer Stella McCartney to Debut a Golden Shift Dress Made with Alternative ‘Silk’

Luxury Fashion Designer Stella McCartney to Debut a Golden Shift Dress - Made with Alternative Silk
image with Bolt scientists via Stella McCartney/Instagram

Stella McCartney continues her environmental efforts by partnering with a sustainably-minded biotech company to produce this one-of-a-kind luxury material. Find out where to see this dazzling dress and how McCartney is redefining luxury in the fashion industry.

Designer Stella McCartney is known for her forward-thinking, not just in her stunning fashion designs, but also in her use of materials. Since her brand launch in 2001, she has committed to producing a completely vegetarian brand — a novel and often frowned upon concept in the world of luxury fashion. Despite her refusal to compromise her ethics with common industry practice, she has successfully made a name for herself amongst the international fashion giants. From ready-to-wear women, men, and children’s apparel, as well as a collaboration with Adidas, the 2016 Olympic Games, and a fragrance line, McCartney is constantly expanding her scope and conscious influence.

Her latest undertaking: a vegan silk alternative that looks and feels just as elegant as its animal-based counterpart.

McCartney has never incorporated leather, furs, or animal-based glues into any of her products, but she has faced challenges in eliminating wools and silks. Although technology has made impressive strides in the production of quality vegan leather, replicating silk has proven to be far more difficult – until now. On July 20th, the designer announced her partnership with Bolt Threads, a San Francisco-based biotech company with a mission to create more sustainable and environmentally-friendly textiles through innovative use of technology and natural materials. Bolt is thrilled by the opportunity; its homepage reads, “Introducing Our New Best Friend: Stella McCartney.” Judging by McCartney’s gorgeous designs and Bolt’s sustainable practices, this is bound to be a beautiful friendship.

sketch of the silk shift dress

For their first collaboration, McCartney will create a dazzling gold shift dress made out of Bolt’s Microsilk, a yeast-based yarn inspired by spider’s silk. The revolutionary dress will debut in October at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s special exhibit, “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”, among other apparel icons, such as the Levi’s 501s, the Brenton shirt, the classic Little Black Dress, and the pearl necklace. The exhibit will explore one hundred and eleven items of clothing and accessories that have significantly influenced society and continue to impact our modern world. The museum has also invited a select few game changers in the fashion and textile industries, such as McCartney and Bolt, as a means to predict what items may revolutionize our future. With a bit of hope and innovation, perhaps this new silk-like material will become as prominent as the LBD.

The partners have not revealed when consumers can expect to see a Bolt Microsilk McCartney line at their nearest luxury department store, but Bolt promises the duo will continue to work together throughout 2017 and beyond “to pave the way for environmentally-friendly luxury fabric innovation.” During the announcement, McCartney echoed Bolt’s excitement, ”…It feels like everything is finally coming together and the dots are being connected between fashion, sustainability and tech innovation…to all work as one for a better planet. It is truly a modern and mindful approach to fashion.”

Through McCartney’s continued efforts in creating more conscious, ethically-produced, and environmentally responsible products, she is redefining the meaning of luxury fashion. In reference to her use of organic and synthetic materials, she suggests, “Owing to the scientific research that goes into creating these blended fibers and subsequently, their scarcity, innovative materials could be considered a true luxury, rather than leather, which has become a commodity.”

So, what is true luxury? In the modern sense, its meaning goes far beyond the price tag. Modern luxury requires integrity; it is the combination of exceptional quality, taste, and consciousness. There is a choice behind the sourcing and production of each item, and it comes with the promise of adhering to the highest level of ethical standards. In other words: it’s strutting down the street in a golden McCartney shift dress of our own–gorgeous and guilt-free.

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