Over the next few months, we will be introducing you to each of the ten finalists for the Kering Award for Sustainability 2016, ahead of the winner announcements in November. Since January 2016, these students have been developing and refining their sustainability projects, and presented them to an esteemed panel of judges from Kering, the London College of Fashion and each of our partner brands, luxury suit company Brioni and vegetarian, fur- and leather-free company Stella McCartney.
Yophi Ignacia and Rosalie Overagaauw, both students on MA Fashion Futures, approached the Kering Award from a very unique angle – that of a partnership. Collaboration is central to CSF’s working practices, and indeed part of the motivation behind the Kering partnership, and therefore, in the spirit of working together, the girls entered as a pair. They have known each other for years, and worked together in the Netherlands, before coming to study at London College of Fashion.
‘As a team we are constantly debating issues and solutions and in this way we develop more thoughtful ideas and complement each other. Rosalie is an inventor and a thinker and wants to be at the start of new developments towards improvement and ethical solutions. Yophi is a risk taker and she likes to explore and bring her design skills to the next level, in order to think about how she can make a more interesting garment via ‘design through thinking’.’
For their Kering Award proposal, Yophi and Rosalie wanted to ‘enter the world of Brioni,’ and create a communications strategy with the aim of widening Brioni’s customer base, and increasing an awareness of sustainability with their current customers. ‘We realised that we were going to have to implement sustainability in a subtle way, and retain the luxuriousness that Brioni customers seek from the brand, and the emotional connection between customer and brand that exists already.’
They decided to create a digital platform that can be used by both the client, the salesperson in the Brioni store. For the client, the platform creates a more personal, convenient and efficient shopping experience, and increases their understanding of the tradition of Brioni. For the salesperson, it allows them to identify the client’s purchase history and better support the needs of the client. ‘The digital space enhances the shopping experience, emotional connection and shows the client where all the elements of his suit are made [100% made in Italy] and by whom.’ By encouraging an increased awareness of the story behind a Brioni suit, from where the materials come from, to who made it, the hope is that customers will gain a greater sense of appreciation for the artistry of their suit, and therefore take better care of it and, ultimately, keep it for longer. ‘Gradually, the digital platform will show more in depth information about the environmental footprint of the suit, therefore slowly integrating sustainability within the brand.’
Yophi and Rosalie relished the chance the Kering Award presented for focused research into the company, and the focus on the many different layers of the brand.
‘What we found inspiring was the opportunity to do in depth research in a luxury company, see where the gaps were and propose a solution. The mentoring we have received along the way pushed us to make decisions and helped us to give more structure to our project. The whole experience felt like an exploration full of surprises, which gave new insights, and it is really the process that made the outcome possible: we were genuinely surprised along the way and could have never imagined the outcome beforehand.’
Keep your eye on the blog to hear about each of the other finalists, and for the all important winner announcements in November. And you can find out more about the LCF x Kering partnership here.