Supporting sustainable design and viable innovation in the fashion industry

four people stoof holding awards smiling
Image: Adam Razvi

We caught up with the winners of The Kering Awards 2019 – a partnership with Kering which supports sustainable design and viable innovation in the fashion industry. This year, Gucci was our partner, offering tutorials and mentoring to more than 80 students.

Speaking with this years winners:

  • Lydia Go – who reflected on the product’s end of life, tackled from a design perspective.
  • Damara Inglês – who used AR to change how we interact with the T-shirt, an unsustainable staple of all our wardrobes.
  • Abhinov Asokan – who explored how to clearly and intelligibly communicate complicated scientific information using Gucci’s existing data
  • Shengnan He – who imagined a social project to empower minorities.

When talking of why they decided to get involved in the Kering project – Damara notes, it was the idea of working with iconic brands such as Gucci and Kering, whilst also having the chance to expand her creative practice and share her learnings from LCF in the industry. She adds, “coming from a Fashion Criticism background, I truly admire that a brand like Gucci is taking part [in work to improve] the sustainability education of younger practitioners. Participating… is a chance to expand my fashion awareness, both by challenging Gucci and by challenging myself.”

Whereas Lydia was led by the realisation of fashion’s impact on the environment, whilst on her placement year at a fast fashion company – “I wanted to make a change”. Alike to Damara, Abhinov was a “desire to work with the pioneers in the fashion industry”, whilst an eagerness to understand the operations at scale persuaded him to apply. He notes, “as the fashion industry is transforming its practices for more ethical and sustainable models, these kinds of competitions will enable students like me to be a part of this transformation.”

Prior to the Kering Awards, Shengnan had been working with an inclusion focus in fashion – having launched a fashion program for minority communities specifically working with a group of autistic teenagers. Hoping support the awards, may give her “more help and guidance for my ideas of fashion inclusion.”


Reflecting on being selected as finalists, the winners tell us of the excitement and boost in confidence it gave them…

Award winner collecting their prize
Abhinov collecting his prize. Image: Adam Razvi

“It gave me huge confidence and courage to think unconventionally and bring novel ideas to the forefront. My project fits in a communication design space where sustainability perspectives are relatively less explored. The finalist selection certainly showed that the industry is looking for different and new narratives for sustainability.”

Abhinov Asokan
Award winner collecting their prize
Damara collecting her award. Image: Adam Razvi

“Being selected as their finalist, awards logic to my creative process…”

Damara Yolanda Inglês 
Award winner collecting their prize
Lydia collecting her award. Image: Adam Razvi

“It encouraged me to keep doing the things that I think are right and never give up… it’s worth it!”

Lydia Go
Award winner collecting their prize
Shengnan collecting her award. Image: Adam Razvi

“People with the same value finally met each other, which brought me a lot of motivation.”

Shengnan He

But how has the Kering Awards enhanced the student experience at LCF…

Lydia, tells us how the “Kering Award not only pushed me to think more creatively but how to be more responsible as a fashion designer.” Abhinov adds, it’s been “one of the best experiences of my student life at LCF”. With all winners mentioning the impact of opportunities to learn and engage with industry through mentoring sessions, peer critiques and presentation skills classes.

Enhancing her practice through further knowledge from the Kering Awards, Damara tells us “Before the Kering Awards, Sustainability was part of my practice. After the Kering Awards it has become a fundamental pillar to my thought process, it has become essential to my critical analysis and design concept.”.

We always aim to encourage students to “think outside the box and be creative pioneers” as Damara puts it – whilst ensuring they acknowledge the current climate. The award allows a space for students to “connect theoretical knowledge on a practical project” inspired Shengnan. Whilst also offering Shengnan “a great opportunity to develop my idea of sustainable fashion, with the coaching and support from Kering, Gucci, and Centre for Sustainable Fashion.”

Image: Adam Razvi

This project offers a great opportunities for students, though the lasting impact on the careers and development of those involved continues long after participating. Having hands-on experience working within the industry is invaluable to students – we asked what’s up next for this years winners…

I will continue to work with Gucci on sustainable fashion projects in the next few months.

Shengnan He

To make the most out of the Gucci Social Media Team Internship in Milano, and hopefully being offered a permanent position. Endless freelance collaboration with up and coming fashion designers and 3d artists. I recently started an augmented-reality Fashion project Softwear_2.0, where I will continue to research and explore the endless possibilities of fashion and technology.

Damara Yolanda Inglês 

For now I would like to gain more experience by working for some fashion brands that I really like, after that I would like to have my own fashion accessories brand aligned with sustainable fashion values.

Lydia Go

I come from a fashion design background. However, now, I am inclined towards designing new narratives for communication and experiences. This gives me a unique combination of skills which I want to leverage in fashion communication spectrum. I personally believe that, as a community, we need to start telling new stories to the new generation as our stories about consumerism are becoming out-dated. I believe that sustainability is a way of life and I will make sure that my voice is being constantly heard to advocate this belief. 

Abhinov Asokan

Find out more about The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion