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Stella McCartney debuts first-ever plastic-free, plant-based sequin garment

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Stella McCartney/Vogue by Annie Leibovitz by Cara Delevingne

British fashion designer Stella McCartney has showcased the world’s first garment crafted from Radiant Matter’s plastic-free, plant-based sequins.

Dubbed ‘BioSequins,’ material innovation start-up Radiant Matter has created sequins derived from plant-based cellulose, using no metals, minerals, synthetic pigments and colourants. The innovative sequins are instead plastic-free, biodegradable and non-toxic.

McCartney has used the ‘BioSequins’ to create an exclusive and experimental sleeveless and fitted all-in-one jumpsuit, which was handmade at the brand’s atelier in London for model Cara Delevingne to wear on the April 2023 cover story of American Vogue.

"I am amazed by the iridescent beauty of our BioSequin all-in-one -- handcrafted in my London atelier from plant-derived, non-toxic sequins that are even more stunning than conventional options,” said McCartney in a press release. “Who says sustainability can’t be sexy? Cara is breathtaking in this rare, precious garment and I am so grateful that Vogue has given us the platform to share it and inspire others to see the potential of a more conscious future of fashion.”

While the BioSequin Stella McCartney jumpsuit isn’t yet available commercially, the fashion brand wanted to showcase the potential of Radiant Matter’s material innovation as it continues to push itself to only use recycled, recyclable and biobased alternatives in the near future.

Elissa Brunatto, founder of Radiant Matter, added: "It's so special to see how Stella McCartney has worked with our BioSequins to bring them to life on this beautiful jumpsuit. We've loved her uncompromising approach to sustainability and aesthetics which are reflected in every decision, down to the fabric and thread choice, resulting in a stunning yet fully plant-derived garment.”

Conventional sequins are made of polyester film (Mylar) or vinyl (PVC), explains the brand, and every fabric that sparkles, glitters or has a reflective property contains a high percentage of petroleum plastic, toxic coatings or metallised parts.

The fashion industry is a massive contributor to the world’s plastic problem, with the UN stating that 70 million barrels of oil are used annually to make polyester. According to Oxfam, British women purchase 33 million sequinned garments every festive season, with 1.7 million garments ending up in landfill, after only five wears. In addition, the European Environment Agency says that some 35 percent of microplastics released into the world’s oceans come from synthetic clothing.

Next gen materials
Radiant Matter
Stella McCartney
Sustainable Fashion