Stella McCartney is known for being a pioneer of sustainability and cruelty-free fashion. Her eponymous brand prides itself on being fully vegetarian, and her flagship store in London uses recycled and upcycled materials throughout, like office waste paper made into papier-mâché wall panels and faux fur from previous collections used to line the lift.
Now the award-winning designer has said that she's "not a fan" of cleaning clothes. The topic came up during an interview with The Observer, when journalist Sophie Heawood asked McCartney if she believes that we still need dry cleaning.
McCartney explained that her viewpoint stems from her years as a fashion student, during which she spent her free time studying to be a bespoke tailor on London's world-famous Savile Row.
"I was the only girl who had ever been in the room. I was there for three years and I barely learned how to set a sleeve head in a sleeve. It’s like architecture. It’s amazing," she recalled. "And the rule on a bespoke suit is you do not clean it. You do not touch it. You let the dirt dry and you brush it off."
McCartney then added: "Basically, in life, rule of thumb: if you don’t absolutely have to clean anything, don’t clean it. I wouldn’t change my bra every day and I don’t just chuck stuff into a washing machine because it’s been worn. I am incredibly hygienic myself, but I’m not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning, really.”
McCartney isn't the only fashion designer to advise against unnecessary cleaning of clothes. An expert from Everlane told Refinery29 in 2015 that "general industry practice is to wash a [cotton] T-shirt every third or fourth normal wear".
Meanwhile, Matt Eddmenson of denim label imogene + willie said that cleaning jeans sparingly is definitely the best way to care for them. He advised: "First wash, no sooner than three months [after purchasing]; make that four months, unless you’re a construction worker. Second wash and all other washes should happen every time someone sits next to you and has a weird look on their face. Translation: Your jeans stink!”