Finding Balance

Photo by Alex Maguire

Photo by Alex Maguire

With The Kering Partnership just beginning to set down roots and sprout shoots of green and new activity at the Centre, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to put into practice many of our research ideas and developing practice relating to how we teach and learn for fashion in a changing world.

At CSF we have been developing our ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) practice since our very beginning. It is at the core of our thinking that students not only need to learn about sustainability and its impacts on what we do and how we do it, but also learn through practice that if we interact, collaborate and share we can nurture behaviour, competencies and emotions that will have a positive resonance on the world. If education’s function is to cultivate the next generation of thinkers and doers then we must move from a model that focuses on individual achievement to systems that have more in common with nature – working across traditional boundaries of discipline, level, and location to find ways to thrive and offer a positive contribution to our world.

‘We must put nature and humanity at the core of our work.’ Dilys Williams

In building the content of how the Kering Award and the Kering Curriculum for Sustainable Fashion will work with students at LCF we are striving to achieve a sense of balance between the demands of being able to perform and communicate in the reality of today, and imagine, experiment and pioneer a vision for the future.

Businesses across sectors, territories, languages and value models are facing up to the realities of sustainability. If they want to have bountiful profit lines in years to come then a sharp realisation of the resources being compromised across supply chains and their impacts on people and planet must be accounted for. In come the CSR teams, sustainability policies, annual environmental targets, and consumer campaigns. But how much of this is about setting out the easy wins, focusing on monetary profits and turnover, fixing a system that is ultimately flawed? What are the profit lines that really impact on our happiness, wellbeing and allow us to flourish as communities? What are the legacies we wish to set in place for our children and their children? Can business and education balance the needs of today with the imperatives of tomorrow?

Two weeks ago we launched our partnership with Kering with the first annual talk, showcasing the ambition of the company through its pioneers CEO Francois-Henri Pinault and Chief Sustainability Officer Marie-Claire Daveau. They discussed how Kering is using sustainability as a driver for innovation and problem solving, and that, ‘the business model of the future must be one that is sustainable’ (Francois-Henri Pinault).

It was enlightening to hear one of the leading global fashion conglomerates discuss the need for whole paradigms to be shifted, pitched alongside the day to day ambitions for transparency and accountability. This is the very nub of why I am so excited to be working Kering. They understand the balance between ‘making better’ the current business model, and the need to invest in experimentation and creativity to imagine a new paradigm for fashion business. Francois-Henri Pinault is committed to ‘doing things differently’ and it seems he is not shy of standing up and making himself heard.

“Sustainability is not a constraint, it’s a field of opportunities at every level. It creates value in multiple ways – efficiency, innovations in processes and product development.” Francois-Henri Pinault

So over to us. The Kering Award and the Kering Curriculum for Sustainable Fashion are now open to LCF students for application. We have worked since our inception to bring such an opportunity to the college and we are committed to making sure this partnership both embeds new practice in fashion education and creates a space for pioneering ideas to be heard.

“To the students here with us tonight, we can put these gears in motion, but it will be you who will have to take up this challenge and drive it forward.” François-Henri Pinault

And if imagining our children’s legacy isn’t incentive enough for you, then our lovely friends at Kering are kindly offering an internship and €10,000 for two outstanding students.

If you are an LCF student and would like to find out more about the Kering Award please click here.

The Kering Curriculum for Sustainable Fashion is available to Masters students through the Collaborative Unit. Email Katarina Rimarcikova k.rimarcikova@fashion.arts.ac.uk for full details.

The Kering Inaugural Lecture with François-Henri Pinault is available here.   

Students can find all the details of how to apply for the Kering Award on the Intranet, within Careers and Employability > LCF Careers > Competitions > Kering Award.