Stella McCartney talks Sustainability at the Third LCFxKering Talk

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: (L to R) Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, Salma Hayek, Stella McCartney, Alasdhair Willis and Mary McCartney attend the 2016 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion on November 14, 2016 in London, England. Pic Credit: Dave Benett

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 14: (L to R) Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, Salma Hayek, Stella McCartney, Alasdhair Willis and Mary McCartney attend the 2016 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion on November 14, 2016 in London, England.
Pic Credit: Dave Benett

On Monday night we welcomed Kering back to LCF for the annual Kering Talk, which marks the start of the third year of the LCFxKering partnership. This year, we were delighted to host Stella McCartney, luxury British fashion designer and sustainability champion Stella McCartney as the special guest speaker. The event, which comprised a question and answer with Stella and journalist Lucy Siegle as well as the awards ceremony for the second edition of the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion, brought together 400 guests including researchers, journalists and fashion professionals. The audience even included some familiar faces, such as Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault and his wife, actress Salma Hayek, British super model Twiggy and her husband, actor Leigh Lawson, Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendelton and photographer Mary McCartney.

The event was opened by LCF Pro-Vice Chancellor Frances Corner, who introduced the partnership, explaining that it has been significant in supporting LCF’s ‘aim of embedding sustainability into every aspect of teaching, from fashion business to design and communication.’ She went on to describe some of the challenges the fashion industry will face in the future, both social and environmental, and how, through the Kering partnership, LCF students are better equipped to face these challenges.

Stella and Lucy took to the stage later, discussing the viscose project that Stella McCartney has been working on for the last two years. Their viscose is now sourced entirely from sustainable forests in Sweden. On top of that, Stella explained that 53% of her womenswear and 45% of menswear collections are now sustainable. Stella explained the influence that her upbringing has had on her ethos, particularly that of a vegetarian company, passionately defending her view the fashion industry needs to be held more accountable for their environmental and social impact. She said that, for her, ‘the effortlessly cool or the fashionable side always had to go hand-in-hand with the ethical and responsible side.’

She heralded the shift towards a more conscious way of consuming and living, and that this should be also encouraged the audience to be more mindful and more curious consumers, investigating what has gone into their fashion the way they would their food. Perhaps the most memorable quote from her talk was that she is ‘investing love into the supply chain,’ reminding the audience that, in order to achieve environmental or human sustainability, we need to invest our time, dedication and, above all, love.

Stella’s talk left many people feeling uplifted and inspired about their own journies into sustainability, and provided the perfect introduction to the Kering Award ceremony, which celebrated the sustainability journeys of four LCF students. CSF’s Dilys Williams opened the ceremony, explaining how the awards bring together ‘ideas in incubation, or the experimental space that is occupied by students, and ideas in practice, the wisdom that comes from people who are working in the industry.’ Beatrice Lazat, Kering’s Human Resources director then took to the stage to award the prizes.

The prizes were awarded to the Stella McCartney winners first: Irene-Marie Seelig was awarded the €10,000 award for innovation, and Iciar Bravo Tomboly the three month internship award for collaboration. Ana Pasalic was also awarded a three month internship, as a special prize for her project.

The Brioni winners were Agraj Jain, winner of the €10,000 award for innovation and Elise Comrie, winner of the three month internship within the brand.

Check back on Monday to hear from all the winners, and you can read about all their projects on the blog.

And I will leave you with Stella’s wisdom that ‘just something small is better than nothing,’ so this weekend, try to take just one small step towards a more sustainable future.