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IFM students' inventive proposals for a more sustainable fashion industry

By Maxime Der Nahabédian



Image: The jury of the IFM-Kering Sustainable Development Certificate, photo: Sacha Heron

Following the creation of the IFM-Kering Sustainability Chair in 2019, the second edition of the Sustainable Development Certificate gave 35 students from France's largest fashion school the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of the industry by partnering with committed brands and associations.

The culmination of their training: Presentation of their projects in front of a jury of industry professionals, composed of Xavier Romatet, General Director of the French Institute of Fashion (Institut Français de la Mode, abbreviated as IFM), Pascal Morand, Executive President of the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion of France, Marie-Claire Daveu, Director of Sustainable Development and International Institutional Affairs at Kering. As well as, Riccardo Bellini, CEO of Chloé, Anouck Duranteau-Loeper, CEO of Isabel Marant, Laura Balmond, Lead, Fashion of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, and Eric Dupont, Director of Sustainable Development, Transformation, Supply Chain and Supply Chain at Chanel.

A 360 degree approach for Isabel Marant

Each of the ten projects presented to the jury at IFM in Paris proposed concrete solutions for a sustainable future for the fashion industry. Clémence Blanc, Claudia Chmielowiec, Sophianne Morrissey and Célia Pezareix explored how sustainable development can be best communicated when the brand has not been founded on this principle. Their subject of study: fashion house Isabel Marant, with whom the group worked hand in hand. Their answer: the "Nova" campaign, a 360-degree approach allowing the brand's customers to obtain full transparency on the origin and environmental impact of their purchases by means of a label on the articles that links to a platform where all the information of a clothing item is gathered.

The consumer experience is also an area of concern for another luxury brand: Balenciaga. To address the issue, Yeonatan Shlomo Fisher, Samia Larouiche and Olivia Richard conducted a scientific study so as to include the discourse on sustainable development in the brand's communication strategy, without Balenciaga losing its distinct point of view.

A rental and resale platform for Chloé

Jonathan Guo, Camille Herry, Claudia Lee and Ana Paula Tenorio joined forces with fashion house Chloé to address the issue of circularity. The French brand is the first luxury house to obtain B-Corp certification in 2021 for its commitment to CSR practices. The project of this third group of students is based on an important observation: consumer interest in sustainable development has grown considerably in recent years: 41 per cent in 2021 compared to 29 per cent in 2019, according to their statistics.

While today's consumers have several ways to participate in circular fashion (buying second-hand, choosing repair or rental, for example), the luxury industry is not making the most of these possibilities. With Chloé, the students made a prototype rental and resale platform enabling consumers to participate in the circular economy and extend the life of clothes already on the market. The idea was to integrate circularity into Chloé's commercial strategy, without having to go through third-party platforms like Vestiaire Collective.

Other projects presented include the "Better Fashion Report" in association with the Master of Good network of entrepreneurs - which promotes transparency and action in response to the textile industry's major challenges in terms of sustainable development. As well as the transformation of jewellery cases by the jeweller Messika into objects designed from sustainable materials, and the valorisation of the know-how of craftsmen of the NGO Itinérance by employing an ethical and circular business model.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR. Translation from French into English: Veerle Versteeg

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Sustainable Fashion