Alexander McQueen, Kering Award Finalists 2018

As we celebrate the Kering Awards for Sustainable Fashion, we turn our attention to the 5 students shortlisted by Alexander McQueen. The house were looking for ideas that explored the role fashion can and should play in society today and in the future. Alexander McQueen were particularly interested in ideas that explored sustainable materials, the role of digital innovation as well as new business models that can support the growth of a sustainable industry. The students profiles below are both final year BA students and MA students.

Aniela

Aniela Fidler

Why did you decide to enter the Kering Awards?

I saw this program as a unique opportunity to challenge  my ideas and beliefs on sustainability  by confronting myself  with industry  experts. It was very important for me to experience and learn from the process of  working closely with the brand,  acknowledge the difficulties it faces and use this valuable insight to advance my work.  I entered Kering Awards because  I had an intention to progress and make a difference.

What is your vision of sustainability in fashion/sustainable fashion?

I imagine a world where different brands  collaborate  to solve together the most pressing environmental problems.  I hope for the openness and common will to  re-design the current system and  educate each other.  I believe in the  industry  which is not afraid to critically revise itself  and look for fresh ideas outside the fashion box.  I think  we have all the skills and the ingenuity to drive the change and we have to empower each other to use them! 

Why did you decide to submit a project for Alexander McQueen?

I decided to submit project for Alexander McQueen because I related to the foundations of the  house. I’m passionate about  fine  craftsmanship and have a big respect for artisanal techniques  which are an important part of company’s identity. I am always fascinated by innovative approach to the  heritage and  during my  research, I  felt truly inspired by brand’s unique  juxtaposition of tradition and modernity.

Zackie

Despoina Zachariadou (Zackie)

Why did you decide to enter the Kering Awards?

The Kering Awards was a challenge for me from the beginning for many reasons. First it was a chance for me to learn and engage with sustainability, something that eventually resulted to determine all my projects afterwards and my research and work context. Also it appeared from the beginning as a great opportunity to work in a project with Kering and so big Fashion Brands that have been great influence for me. Finally as being an extra-curriculum project it would be a way to meet and work with people I would not have had the chance to cross paths otherwise.  

What is your vision of sustainability in fashion/sustainable fashion?

Since I got closer to sustainability in fashion industry through this project and started to more deeply study and discover about it, there was a big change in my practice. I conceive sustainability as a way of living, as an overall mentality and mind-set and since fashion is also part of our everyday life these things are intertwined. My vision is that people and industry will start more and more to engage with the idea of sustainable life and sustainable fashion, which I am positive that is already happening. I always believe in the power of a person and I am always amazed by the infinite human mind and personality, so my vision is that the change will come from the raising awareness and demand of consumers for sustainability in fashion. In this way I believe that the change is deeper and long lasting, it is a sustainable long term way of a change that comes from culture and personal cultivation and ethics.  

Why did you decide to submit a project for Alexander McQueen?

Alexander McQueen has always been among the most inspirational fashion Houses and Personalities for me, so having the opportunities to work on a project with this brand was a step closer to what a fashion student would dream. Especially because of its unique storytelling identity and its bringing together of imagination, history, technology it was a brand and content very aligned with my personal work and projects that lie between practical and conceptual.

Amy

Amy Foster-Taylor

Why did you decide to enter the Kering Awards?

I entered the Kering Awards for two reasons. In a broader sense, it provided a space whereby my ideas could be tested in a commercial setting, that is, challenging the notion of what fashion can be, while ensuring the ideas remained viable. More specifically, it allowed me to explore the concept of luxury and how it could be redefined. I have always been fascinated by the luxury fashion industry, believing that such brands are in an incredibly influential position to create and inspire wide-scale change. In fact, my work prior to the awards had always centred around luxury.   

I was looking forward to pushing what sustainability could mean beyond the current rhetoric, towards a more holistic approach that reflected the existing creativity and developing sustainability mindset within luxury, throughout the entire business model. Providing a new vision of an industry that not only places creativity, but people and the planet at its heart.  

What is your vision of sustainability in fashion/sustainable fashion?

The notion of sustainability is one that inherently challenges the concept of what fashion is and can be. It not only offers new opportunities, but it is a necessary step towards making our future greater for both people and the planet.  Sustainability in fashion is more than switching materials, but the beginning of a conversation whereby we can talk more broadly about the surrounding systems, how they interplay with one another, and their potential impacts. It is not about losing the essence of fashion, the excitement, the creativity, the expression, but provides room to challenge the status quo and question the underlying drivers and ideas, and whether they in itself are sustainable. How should we consume? Could we market goods differently? How could we make decisions around growth? How should we treat employees from the head office, through to the supply chain?  What are the overall effects on people and the planet?  

For me, sustainability needs to be holistic, fundamental, and second nature. It needs to be embedded within cultures and acted upon by every person, no matter their role. A sustainable fashion industry is one that values the people that make up the industry, and the planet where its resources come from. It is an industry that owns its position, rather than placing responsibility on the consumer or market factors. It is an industry that is adaptable and breaks down barriers. It is open and it empowers. It is kind and respectful in every sense.

Why did you decide to submit a project for Alexander McQueen?

It should go without saying that Alexander McQueen is truly iconic. A respected house, known globally for its creativity and ability to challenge conventions. A brand in a mighty position to inspire and influence.

Alexander McQueen is a brand that I admire, and whose legacy deserves to live on. But in order to do so, I believe that its culture needs to adapt. What if the current culture is hindering its people and their ability to think more creatively about sustainability? After all, a business is made up of people, and I believe that nurturing a culture that values and empowers, thus unlocking sustainable thought, imagination, and retention, is fundamental to the long-term success of the brand. I felt that there was not only an opportunity, but it was really necessary to explore what a value-driven mindset could look like for McQueen, and how it could be built using innovative new methods created specifically for the brand; a framework that would place imagination and creativity at its heart, through a human-centric, value-driven approach. 

Ashleigh

Ashleigh Chambers

Why did you decide to enter the Kering Awards?

I decided to enter the Kering Awards as a way of challenging myself as a designer to expand my way of thinking about materials and materials sourcing for fashion. Coming into the awards with a designer’s point of view meant I was able to identify an idea based specifically on the identity and heritage of the Alexander McQueen brand and think of what their customers would find desirable, but it was through the mentorship and development of the project over the awards process that taught me about the realities of creating materials more sustainably and how to overcome the challenges by thinking innovatively.

What is your vision of sustainability in fashion/sustainable fashion?

My vision of sustainability in fashion is that we all take on more responsibility now and in the future; whether it’s a customer using their spending power to buy more responsibly- made products, a designer taking a risk on a new idea as a way of embedding sustainability in the product from its inception or a large company improving their existing production and processes, we all have the power to make improvements and nurturing creative sustainable ideas is a huge part of that.

Why did you decide to submit a project for Alexander McQueen?

My decision to enter a project for Alexander McQueen was very much to do with the concept itself being inspired directly by the brand’s heritage of storytelling, Britishness and craft, making this a unique opportunity to combine sustainability and luxury with the romantic and feminine aesthetic of the brand in order to create an idea specifically for Alexander McQueen. 

Claire

Claire Weiss

Why did you decide to enter the Kering Awards?

I decided to enter the Kering Awards because it’s an opportunity like no other. Within sustainability, collaboration is continually heralded as a key to collective success. Through this award I was able to participate in and witness true collaboration with Kering, Alexander McQueen, Center for Sustainable Fashion, scientists, and artists. It has been a priceless experience bridging academia and industry.

What is your vision of sustainability in fashion/sustainable fashion?

My vision of sustainability is parallel as with life – hopelessly positive.  I believe in the power of the convergence of biology and technology in order to drive collective change towards our shared future. We’ve been given all the tools we need to challenge existing systems and with the right mindset and grit we will be able to work together to challenge the status quo, working towards better practice top to bottom.

Why did you decide to submit a project for Alexander McQueen?

When this years brands were announced, I immediately was excited at the possibility to collaborate with the legendary brand that is Alexander McQueen. Having studied this brand at the forefront of change for so long, I found endless inspiration in the heritage of the company.  It felt as if my background in luxury tailoring combined with my current specialization in sustainability and biotechnological materials prepared me to tune into the endlessly beautiful craftsmanship of the company. Together we were able to start to imagine how to set a precedent for future practice and inspire customer engagement with innovative concepts.

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For more information about the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion in 2019, click here