Stella McCartney Taps Yoshitomo Nara For A Sustainable Capsule Collection

Shared activism, shared ethics and shared aesthetics: that’s what sits at the centre of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s sophomore, collaboration with Stella McCartney that dropped last week. Duly dubbed Shared, the duo’s first disruptive link-up took place two summers ago. It was Nara’s first-ever time dipping his toes into fashion and one that saw immense success, selling out on a global scale. No doubt, a second collaboration would be on the cards. 

Now, lending his creative eye and formidable flair for rebellion to McCartney once again, Nara’s pastel-hued animal children and big-headed girls with piercing eyes – deceptively simple recurring motifs – appear across silky daytime pyjama sets, classic wash wide-legged jeans, double-faced bomber with vegan Alter Mat sleeves and more. The sad, malevolent figures embody a kind of kawaii with a dark edge and speak universal truths, expressing conflicting feelings and anxieties while using youthful human emotion as a powerful vehicle for meaningful messages.

Also expressing a shared love for animals, and a free-spirited, punk attitude, are vegan accessories made entirely from cruelty-free materials, including iconic Elyse platforms, recyclable Loop trainers, Gaia espadrilles and fur-free pool slides. Canvas bucket hats, caps and tote bags are crafted from organic cotton and recycled materials too. 

Splattered across knits, organic cotton jersey t-shirts, fleece hoodies and joggers, ribbed cotton roll necks and marled grey vests, plant-based poplin shirting and shorts, are his gazing girls, feral children and countercultural slogans such as “Stop The Bombs” – a pertinent message considering all that is happening in Ukraine. They blend in seamlessly with McCartney’s laid-back, carefree clothes. The result is a concise edit of rare collector’s items, elevated with richer textiles and techniques. It’s a gender fluid capsule that speaks to a much younger, more open-minded generation. 

Bridging art, subculture and street culture in his striking illustrations, Nara is fluent in the language and style of youth in revolt, aligning exceptionally well with McCartney’s defiant attitude when it comes to her unwavering activism and support for the planet. An art enthusiast – she has previously worked with the likes of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons and Olafur Eliasson – and an activist – Stella has long been inspired by Nara’s nonconformist, activist attitude, drawing similarities to how she has approached her own work over the past 21 years. “Yoshitomo Nara is one of the most incredible artists alive today in my opinion,” McCartney told 10. “I wanted to work with him because we are very aligned on our way of approaching the world and our work, which is to be pretty punk rock and rebellious and have a message in our work, but also being at once with nature and animals. We are his first [and second!] ever fashion collaboration and for that I am honoured!”

Shot on the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, talents Aoi Yamada, Lucia Karikomi, Kojiro Asai and Marika Ito sport the sustainable garms.

Continuing the collaboration, some Nara looks made their debut on McCartney’s SS23 runway presented at the Centre Pompidou during Paris Fashion Week in September. That, along with a mini-me offering for Stella Kids, will drop early next year. But for now, McCartney is keeping things arty. Shop the collaborative collection here. 

Photography courtesy of Stella McCartney.

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