Can we say that Stella McCartney‘s anti-leather petition was a flop? For us, yes. In more than a month, it has collected over 43,000 signatures. Which may not be small in absolute terms, but it is in relative terms. First of all, because the petition is on a global scale and was launched from a stage, that of COP26, on which the eyes of the world were focused. And because its promoter is an international personality: Stella McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Paul, has a surname that alone makes headlines. What’s more, she is not an “independent” designer. On the contrary, in her career she first joined forces with Kering and then LVMH. When she moves, fashion giants move. When she speaks out, her opinions are reported in the media all over the planet.
The anti-leather petition
A petition on change.org already has a purely demonstrative value. The person who promotes it, once he/she has reached the target audience, points it out to the recipient of the request. In the case of Stella McCartney’s request, launched during COP26, the recipient is “the global fashion industry”: everyone and no one. The collection of signatures got off to a lively start (at least compared to the slowness shown in the second phase). It broke through the 40,000-signature threshold around November 20. And then it stopped. The initial momentum turned into a slow pace of a few hundred signatures a day. The 50,000 threshold remains a long way off.
What conclusions to draw
We cannot know whether the petition is destined to experience a sudden revival. Given the dynamics of the web, it could happen. But we do understand one thing. When Stella McCartney, hosted by the “greats of the earth” (as they say at international governmental summits), launched her petition, we immediately warned you about its poverty (and impropriety) of content. The flurry of news last autumn prompted us to write a monographic issue on La Conceria (issue 12, currently in distribution) in order to restore a modicum of truth to the age-old querelle with vegans.
The lukewarm, very lukewarm reception that the international public has given to Stella McCartney’s anti-leather petition is comforting. It means that, however much certain arguments and demands appeal to influential figures, capable of influencing the international press, there is a “silent majority” of the market that has no reservations about leather. And that does not mobilise against leather.