Jenni Kusowski: Kering Award Winner

Jenni blogOver the last year we have been working with the finalists of the 2016 Kering Awards for Sustainable Fashion. In the run-up to the winners being announced later this month, we are profiling the work of the finalists. This year the Kering brands involved were Gucci and Stella McCartney.

Jenni Kusowski has worked to develop a Fibreshed for denim production for Stella McCartney. Here she tells us more about her work.

Tell us a little bit about your project:

JK: My project focuses on the local production of denim through a UK-based Fibreshed. A Fibreshed is a circular system where textiles are designed, sewn, grown, processed, sold, worn and eventually composted locally, in a specific region. This model is very different from the way denim is currently produced because it allows for complete traceability into the agricultural origins of textiles and works towards removing the use of synthetic finishes or toxic dyes. It also takes advantage and supports the farming of regional indigenous plants, such as British-grown woad for the indigo and flax or hemp for the plant fibre.

What is your personal take on fashion and sustainability? How have your personal values and experiences influenced your thinking.

JK: As a designer who’s spent nearly a decade working in denim, I have seen first-hand how damaging and unsustainable the industry can be. That’s why I’m committed to designing and developing healthier, more natural products that are less wasteful of our planet’s resources.

What values would you like to see shape the fashion industry in the next 20 years?

JK: I think we need to re-imagine the fashion industry.

I think sustainability needs to move out of the niche market and move into the mainstream mindset. With that said I think we still need to stop consuming as much as we do today and start making more informed choices about our purchases to lower our environmental impact on the planet. Also, as consumers we need to use our voices to demand this change from our favorite brands. Ultimately it’s about slowing things down: the fashion calendar, our urgency for technological innovation as a quick fix, and acknowledging that convenience has environmental, social and political repercussions.

In the future I would like to see the fashion industry embracing local production, native materials, holistic thinking and community.