Kering offers its caring side to LCF students
A Handbag is a handbag, right? And if it is Gucci, it is made from the finest leather. So what is sustainable about that?
François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of luxury group Kering, is committed to sustainability, calling it "both a business and a leadership opportunity".
The panel: Professor Dilys Williams, Professor Frances Corner, Francine Lacqua, François-Henri Pinault and Marie-Claire Daveu
For Gucci, his company has invented an innovative tanning process which uses none of the traditional heavy metals. And that is just the beginning of the list of good works that Pinault discussed in a seminar at the London College of Fashion.
"Sustainability should not be at the margins of the educational system but integrated into the core of our approach." François-Henri Pinault
The LCF talk was the beginning of a five-year commitment from Kering to partner with the London College of Fashion to encourage students to commit to sustainability and to engage with the subject. Mr Pinault’s discourse was the first of five annual lectures on the subject.
For the launch event, Professor Frances Corner, the college head, Professor Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable fashion and Marie-Claire Daveu, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Kering, all joined a panel chaired by Francine Lacqua, Editor-at-Large for Bloomberg Television.
"Transforming our industry so that it addresses our social and environmental challenges is a formidable task, but it is an achievable one." François-Henri Pinault
To underline Kering’s drive for a better world, on each seat was a limited-edition badge designed by Stella McCartney in partnership with Condé Nast supporting the Kering Foundation’s “White Ribbon for Women” campaign to coincide with the UN’s End Violence Against Women day on November 25 – part of an initiative launched by producer and filmstar Salma Hayek, Pinault’s wife.
The talk emphasised the importance of discussion and collaboration within the college. Professor Frances Corner, head of the LCF, suggested that education could play an important role in sustainability by mixing different disciplines such as chemistry, ecology and design.
Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering, then announced that an award will be granted to two winners of the annual Kering award for sustainable fashion. They will be given a two month paid internship at two of the British-based brands: Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, plus each will receive a study grant of 10,000 euros each.
"London has a special significance for Kering, given that our brands Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane are all based here." François-Henri Pinault
A Gucci leather bag made with a method invented by Kering which omits heavy-metals
I admire Kering for challenging the lavish and wasteful attitudes of so much that is defined as "luxury". Examples of the brand’s good actions include 100 per cent LED lighting at Saint Laurent stores, reducing electricity consumption by 30 per cent; using recycled polyester in 24 per cent of youth brand Volcom’s products; and certified sustainability at Puma.
Add to that the initiatives of Stella McCartney, which now include sustainable wool sourced from Patagonia, with a commitment to conserve 15 million acres of endangered land.
Stella McCartney sustainable wool, autumn/winter ’14
"Our new Materials Innovation Lab – we call it MIL – is a powerful example, concentrating on innovation in raw materials, fabric processes and manufacturing." François-Henri Pinault
All the speakers seemed deeply committed to the subject and the conference room over-flowing with students suggested that this Kering initiative could be the start of a genuine change of attitude in the fashion world.
I did not have the chance to pose any questions to the speakers, but I wanted to ask how these excellent ideas and the five-year partnership could impact on the fast-fashion chains which are literally on the doorstep of the college, based just off London’s Oxford Street.
I walked out to see the windows of cheap and cheerful clothes that seemed so diametrically opposed to the sustainability projects and the co-development of academic modules for the sustainable design course. Those clothes at those prices could only have been produced in countries with low standards of pay and conditions of work.
I will be interested to see whether the Kering initiative at the London College of Fashion can really make a difference – in attitude and in the quality of products on sale at the heart of the city’s fast-fashion capital.
"To the students here with us tonight, we can put these gears in motion, but it will be you who will have to take up this challenge and drive it forward." François-Henri Pinault
Фото: LCF and Alex Maguire, Kering, GETTY Images