Victoria Andre talks about sustainable supply chains and iconic loafers as she tells us a little about her project for Gucci as part of the Awards programme.
Tell us a little bit about your project
VA: My project aimed to propose a more sustainable supply chain for Gucci’s footwear range. I looked at how I could innovate the inner and outer structures of the brand’s iconic loafer, with a strong focus on material innovations and sourcing better leathers. Key materials included vegetable-tanned ‘Lite Hide’ and salmon leathers, as well as coconut husk insoles and ‘Muskin’ mushroom-based padding. By using these materials, I addressed more efficient material transportation, better land and water use, as well as biodegradable possibilities for the loafer’s end of life.
How has the natural world impacted your approach to sustainability?
VA: Following a vegetarian and plant-based diet, deciding what foods and products I consume, their origin, and their environmental impacts are of huge importance to me. In such, when I started the Footwear Design course at London College of Fashion, it was natural for me to question how I could use my practice to create more sustainable fashion, and to find better and more ethical materials where possible. To me, I think that what you put inside your body is as important as what you wear on your body, and that is what always inspired my approach to sustainability.
How do you see the fashion industry changing in the next 20 years? What role do you think graduates can play?
VA: I think that graduates and young designers can no longer get away with creating fashion and not think about the social, ethical and environmental implications that come with their work. I find it almost old-fashioned for brands to produce so many seasons a year, and not address their efforts towards sustainable improvements. When someone decides to work in the fashion industry, a certain responsibility comes with that. I hope that in 20 years time, fast-fashion (including luxury fast-fashion), sweat shops, harmful chemicals, PVC and Crocs will all be a thing from the past. In 20 years, today’s graduates will be in charge, and I think the fashion industry can expect change.