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The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion

The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion was launched in 2014 as part of the five-year partnership between Kering and the London College of Fashion. Each academic year, two of Kering’s luxury fashion brands set a brief for final year BA and MA students to respond to, which focuses on specific and real-life industry challenges.

The Kering Award provides students with the opportunity to gain feedback and support from a variety of industry partners, and present to some of the most influential people in sustainable luxury. The Award is open to students from all disciplines within the college, and requires students to provide innovative, creative and achievable solutions to the project brief. To date the brands involved have been Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Brioni and Gucci.

The brands for 2018 are Alexander McQueen and Pomellato, the brief can be found here.

If you are an LCF final year BA or MA student interested in taking part in the 2018 Kering Award programme register HERE to receive application details.

The Award Process

Students submit their application during the Autumn Term, and a shortlist is selected in January.

Shortlisted students are invited to Lab Day in February, which gives them the opportunity to speak to representatives from Kering and the brands, and to gain a deeper understanding of the brand identities and their approaches to sustainability.

In March, finalists are selected for each brand by a panel made of representatives from Kering, CSF and the brands. After the finalists are selected, the students undergo a period of mentoring from Kering, LCF and the brands, spanning several months, during which time they hone and develop their ideas further. They finalists are also invited to store visits, and given mentoring from other departments, including Kering and the brands’ HR, and LCF’s careers team.

In June, the finalists present their projects to a panel of judges from Kering, the brands and LCF at Kering’s London office. In  recognition of innovation and vision for sustainability, one student from each brand will be selected to receive a cash prize of €10,000. To recognise rigour and employability for sustainability, one student from each brand will be selected to receive a three month paid internship.

The winners are announced at the annual Kering Talk, which takes place the following November.

Year One

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In the first year of the Award, we partnered with Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, two British brands that are approaching sustainability in very different but equally powerful ways. Three finalists were selected to work with each brand, and developed a variety of ideas, ranging from seaweed as a natural alternative to synthetics in fashion products, to using offcuts to create new luxury materials. They presented to a of Kering board directors, brand CEOs and designers, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the London College of Fashion and sustainability experts at Kering’s London offices.

One winner for each brand was chosen and awarded both the €10,000 prize as well as the three month internship within the brand.

The winner for Stella McCartney was Neliana Fuenmayor, who presented an idea for transparency as a tool for communication. She aimed to communicate the powerful stories behind the products as a means of informing and empowering the consumer. A designer by trade, Neliana has worked in various areas of the fashion industry, including launching her own womenswear brand. This experience channeled Neliana’s main focus towards transparency as a tool for communication.

Read more about Neliana’s project here.

The winner for Alexander McQueen was Ingrid Rautemberg, who focused on creating a bioplastic made from organic food or food waste that could be used in accessories, packaging or waterproofing for textiles.

Overwhelmed by the immense pollution of our oceans caused by an over-reliance on plastics, fashion designer and computer scientist Ingrid focused her research on alternatives to this modern ecological disaster. This led her to explore her own bioplastic solutions using everyday domestic ingredients.

Read more about Ingrid’s project here.

Year Two

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In the second year of the Award, our partners were Stella McCartney and Italian luxury suit company Brioni. Five finalists were selected for each brand, and underwent rigorous mentoring from the brands, LCF careers team and sustainability experts. They were also invited to exclusive store visits at each of the brands’ London stores, as well as a meeting with Kering’s HR department. They presented their final projects in June 2016 to a panel that included LCF staff and senior sustainability officers from Kering.  

Two winners were chosen for Brioni, with one awarded €10,000 for an innovative and original idea, and the other a three-month internship for rigorous sustainability research and demonstrated employability.

The winners for Brioni were Agraj Jain and Elise Comrie.

Agraj was awarded the €10,000 prize for his project around peace silk, which drew on his religious background as a Jainist and his belief to not harm any living being. Peace silk is a cruelty free alternative to normal silk, which features heavily in the lining of Brioni’s suits, as well as in their shirts and ties.

Read more about Agraj’s project here.

Elise won the three month internship, which recognised her rigorous research and employability for sustainability. Her project, ‘Tailored Tobacco’ drew on both the heritage of Brioni as a luxury menswear company, and her own background, growing up in the Canadian Great Plains. She proposed a suit jacket dyed with tobacco, highlighting the positive properties of the tobacco plant.

Read more about Elise’s project here.

Three winners were chosen for Stella McCartney. Irene-Marie Seelig was awarded the €10,000 prize for her project, which proposed amadou mushroom skin as a vegetarian leather alternative. Irene tested the durability and sustainability statistics of the mushroom leather, as well as demonstrated its properties in a pair of shoes.

Read more about Irene’s project here.

Ana Pasalic was also awarded a three month internship for her research into new material development and innovative dyeing techniques that could be used to improve the material sustainability of many Stella McCartney products.

Read more about Ana’s project here.

Iciar Bravo Tomboly was awarded a three month internship at Stella McCartney for her project, ‘Social Ecology,’ which aimed at increasing environmental sustainability through ensuring the wellbeing, health and happiness of workers in the supply chain. Iciar worked with psychologists to develop a test that would determine how satisfied workers were, both at work and at home.

Read more about Iciar’s project here.

Year Three

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For the third year of the Kering Award we worked again with Stella McCartney and for the first time, Gucci. Again five finalists were selected to work closely with each brand and two winners were selected by each brand at the end of the mentoring process. Students also undertook store visits and presented their work to Kering and LCF staff at Kering offices in London.

Gucci selected Charlie Wilkinson and Laure Fernandez as the two award winners.

Charlie Wilkinson was awarded the Award for Collaboration in Fashion & Sustainability for her project focusing on the use of cork as a sustainable material in Gucci’s heritage luggage collections.  Judges thought the projects had fascinating links with the Italian cork heritage.

Laure Fernandaz received the award for Award for Innovation in Fashion & Sustainability receiving a prize of €10000 and was offered and internship at Gucci. Her work focuses on exploring new ways of designing patterns and the future of printing processes.

The winners selected by Stella McCartney were Jenni Kusowski and Dian-Jen Lin.

The proposal of the UK’s first fibreshed – a circular system where textiles are designed, grown, processed, woven, sold, worn and eventually composted locally, all within a defined region – completely rethinks the way denim is produced and gave Jenni Kusowski the Award for Collaboration in Fashion & Sustainability and an internship at Stella McCartney.

Dianjen Lin’s project is about developing and testing post-carbon materials to design garments that have photosynthetic or pollution-filtering properties. She was the winner of the Award for Innovation in Fashion & Sustainability and captured the judges imagination showing how nature can help fashion to have a smaller carbon footprint.