Over the next few months, we will be introducing you to each of the ten finalists for the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion 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, London College of Fashion and each of our partner brands, Stella McCartney and Brioni.
MA Fashion Futures student Ana Pasalic wanted to investigate the idea of a material with the ‘smallest possible environmental footprint.’ Her research led her to explore an innovative new material process, and eventually to MIT, where she met with the scientists developing it. Combining this material innovation with a low impact dye solution, Ana was able to present a new, low impact process to the team at Stella McCartney.
‘After four years in fashion I recognised that being a designer gives me a power to influence a certain kind of change in the world. I want to work in a sustainable direction ensuring a better life for every creature and plant on our planet. As a designer I know that there are a million ways a shirt can look, and styles are constantly changing, but I had to ask myself the question, if the way that shirt is made never changes, are things actually changing?
‘Reflecting on my own work made me understand that if I want to change the fashion industry I have to do it right at the beginning, on a business level and on a personal level. Albert Einstein once said ‘We can’t solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking as when we created it.’ Through the knowledge and the experience I gained during MA Fashion Futures I understood how I, as a designer, could influence and change the fashion industry, starting with materials.
Ana was in the USA, researching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the day of the final presentation, so, after a few technical hitches, she videoed in and presented her ideas to the panel digitally. Representing Stella McCartney on the panel were Head of Sustainability & Ethical Trade Claire Bergkamp, Collection Director Carolina Brodasca, HR Director Abigail Lerman and Studio Manager Rosie Wake Walker.
‘Being part of this award taught me that sustainability is possible on any scale and in any step of the production and if there is a will to produce sustainably there is a way. Fashion and sustainability can go hand in hand being luxurious, beautiful and low impact.
‘The most inspiring part of the award process was the fact that this project helped me to push my own boundaries and opened a door into a whole new world of creativity that I would never have dreamed to enter. I entered a world between fashion and technology, taking my knowledge in fashion to the MIT, to develop new materials.’
The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion is part of a five-year partnership launched in 2014 between Kering and Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL, to support sustainable practices and innovation in the fashion industry. The partnership is three-fold and also includes an annual lecture – The Kering Talk – and a co-developed Masters’ level curriculum on sustainable design.
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 KeringxLCF partnership here.