Kering partners with the London College of Fashion for sustainable fashion initiative

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Kering, home of some of the world’s biggest luxury brands, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, has teamed up with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. 

“Sustainability in business is no longer an adjunct; it has to be integral to a new way of working,” explained Professor Frances Horner, head of the school. “I look forward to seeing how our students, the fashion professionals of the future, respond to being matched with some of Kering’s biggest brands.”

On Wednesday, Kering boss François-Henri Pinault will take to the stage in London at the first ‘Kering Talks’ event to announce the initiative. With a mix of academic and industry talent, the partnership aims to play a key role as an incubator for new ways of thinking about sustainable fashion. The three-prong initiative includes the annual Kering Talks which will see business and creative leaders explore the latest developments in the sustainable fashion.

This will be backed up by the annual ‘Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion’ (open to the school’s third-year fashion design, management and communications BA and MA students). Two winners each year will receive a grant from the company and placements at Kering brands. The third focus will be on co-developing academic modules at the school with more industry experts helping to focus efforts on sustainability today and tomorrow.  

“Our shared vision on the importance of empowering young talent, combined with our industry knowledge, will encourage the next generation of fashion professionals to place sustainability at the heart of their future careers,” added Pinault.  

It’s part of a wider focus within the fashion industry on cleaning up its act after a damaging Greenpeace report in 2012 on the adverse environmental effects wreaked by global fashion production. Brands with sustainable development at their core, including Maiyet and Edun, have done well, but an equal amount of effort seems to have gone into the incorporation of eco-friendly values into existing labels. Recent examples include H&M’s Conscious collection and, at the other end of the market, Gucci’s line of Rainforest Alliance certified handbags. There has also been a nascent boom in sustainable ecommerce sites with recent launches including Londoners Rêve en Vert and New York-based Zady. 

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