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, the London College of Fashion and each of our partner brands, luxury suit company Brioni and vegetarian, fur- and leather-free company Stella McCartney.
MA Fashion Design Management student Iciar Bravo was inspired by a childhood spent in her mother’s clothing factory in Paraguay. There she learnt not only about materials, techniques and the business of fashion, but was also exposed to the realities of people living without the same levels of comfort and opportunity that she had. It was this that sparked her interest in social values, and inspired her project about measuring social impact for Stella McCartney.
The concept behind her project was ‘Social Ecology,’ based on her belief that we cannot change the environment without first adapting human behaviour and values. Iciar argues that we should focus not only on environmental and financial factors through sustainability, but also social issues, claiming that in the creation of fashion we are not only polluting the air and the water, but also polluting social values. Fashion is a powerful industry that needs to be aware of the notion of wellbeing and the positive contribution it can make to the social environment. Only then can we begin to create positive relationships with our environment.
‘One common meaning of sustainability is the capacity to endure, to make things last and continue for next generations. And for me, this translates into making things better for the next years to come. It is not just about reducing the impact we have on society and the earth, or about having no impact, it’s having a POSITIVE impact.
‘Sustainability impacts my work in the fashion industry by inspiring me to create things that are good, that take into account all the human beings involved in the supply chain, and the impact that we have in the world.’
Iciar was attracted to The Kering Award for the opportunity to work with a luxury brand, with the aim of combining her academic and professional development. However, combining fashion with sustainability is not always straightforward, as Iciar discovered when she started work on her project.
‘The biggest challenge I had was to place sustainability at the core of my actions. Before doing this project I was acting in a sustainable way but not consciously. Thanks to this project I now understand the importance of not only living sustainability myself, but sharing it with the people around me.
‘The great thing about this Award is that it raises our standards. Working with a company like Kering inspires you to give the most and to achieve excellence. It is a space where you can show and develop your skills, and actually have contact with industry experts.’
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.