Four London College of Fashion students were announced as the winners of the 2017 Kering Awards for Sustainable Fashion, as part of the 2017 Kering Talk that featured Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive of Gucci as the guest of honour and keynote speaker.
The awards are part of the five-year partnership between Kering and the London College of Fashion created in 2014 to create an incubator for sustainable fashion and were co-developed by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the university.
The annual competition is open to final year undergraduate and Masters students across the disciplines of design, business and communication, and this year’s sustainability challenge was set by Gucci and Stella McCartney.
2017 Kering Awards for Sustainable Fashion winners revealed
Gucci asked the students to present an “alternative view of luxury that considers human wellbeing and natural systems as key drivers for the design, production and communication of fashion” asking for ideas that would make the Italian fashion house “relevant and inspirational” for the next hundred years.
Laure Fernandez and Charlie Wilkinson were named the winners for Gucci. Fernandez was crowned the winner of the Award for Innovation in Fashion and Sustainability, praised for created a new method of designing and printing patterns, using microbial pigments. Currently studying for her MA Fashion Futures at London College of Fashion, Fernandez wins a 10,000 euro grant to continue her research.
While Wilkinson, a designer specialising in leather bags and accessories won the Award for Collaboration in Fashion and Sustainability for replacing the structural materials of plastic and leather within Gucci’s hard luggage with a mixture of cork and bio-resin. Wilkinson’s prize is an internship at Gucci.
Gucci and Stella McCartney set sustainability challenge to London College of Fashion students
British fashion designer Stella McCartney invited students to express their own values and approach to sustainability for the Kering award, asking for “concepts that dissolve boundaries, and overcome technical, material and cultural challenges”.
The winner of the Award for Innovation in Fashion and Sustainability was given to Dianjen Lin for her ‘Post Carbon Fashion’ concept, which has produced promising preliminary research into producing clothing that absorbs CO2. While still in preliminary phases, she has merged algae cultures with fibres and her initial results have been promising, as one Post-Carbon T-shirt can produce 4 percent more oxygen than generated by a tree.
Lin has won a 10,000 euro grant to continue her research, while studying for her MA in Fashion Futures.
In addition, Jennifer Kusowski’s project ‘Designing Denim with Nature’ to develop the UK’s first fibre shed, a circular system where textiles are designed, sewn, grown, processed, sold, worn and composted locally, was awarded the Award for Collaboration in Fashion and Sustainability and will see her undertaking an internship with Stella McCartney.
“The future of the luxury industry is dependent on the next generation of sustainable materials and processes,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering. “Our partnership with the London College of Fashion is designed to tap into the vast potential of young minds and connect it with business to jointly develop smart solutions to our global challenges.”
Daveu added: “We are in awe of the students’ aptitude, their creative solutions, and their innovative ideas and hugely proud to be part of this initiative. It is this next generation who will push past the frontiers of the sustainable solutions we know today, and we at Kering have a responsibility to nurture and enable this talent for the sake of our planet and the generations to come.”
For the academic year 2017-18, Kering has announce that Alexander McQueen and Pomellato, will partner with London College of Fashion, UAL and set the sustainability briefs for the competition.
Images: courtesy of Getty Images for Kering