Todd Hymel CEO of Action Sports Brands Kering and Kelly Slater

Last night, Kering and London College of Fashion welcomed world surfing champion, entrepreneur and founder of menswear brand Outerknown, Kelly Slater, as their guest of honour at the annual Kering Talks on Sustainable Fashion.

Kelly was joined by Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer Marie-Claire Daveu, Belén Essioux-Trujillo – Senior Vice-President of Human Resources at Kering, Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner, and Professor Dilys Williams – Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The evening explored the future of sustainable practices within the fashion industry, as well as showcasing the work of the six LCFxKering student finalists and the two winners.

Todd Hymel CEO of Action Sports Brands Kering and Kelly Slater

Todd Hymel CEO of Action Sports Brands at Kering and Kelly Slater

The event began with a welcome from Professor Frances Corner who spoke about students learning to become global thinkers, and how to manage the complexities of sustainability. Following Frances’ speech, Marie-Claire Daveu commented that the work undertaken is to help build a future where fashion and sustainability will become one and the same, before welcoming Kelly Slater and Todd Hymel, CEO of Action Sports Brands at Kering, to the stage.

A full-house heard Kelly in conversation with Todd, discussing the reasons behind the launch of Outerknown and wider issues surrounding sustainable fashion. Inspired by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Stella McCartney, Kelly wanted to develop a more conscious approach to what we wear. He wanted to know more about the clothes he wears, where they come from and who makes them.

Kelly Slater at the Kering Award

‘Sustainability should be the norm, not an alternative’ – Kelly Slater

Kelly’s talk highlighted the importance of engaging and encouraging young talent to put sustainable practices and thinking at the heart of their professional development. As well as discussing his own brand, Kelly responded to audience questions commenting on whether or not consumers consciously care about their clothing being sustainable – a question Kelly said he asks himself on a daily basis. He also touched upon how his surfing background influenced his venture into the fashion world, and commented on how important it is to be out of your comfort zone.

“I believe that it is vital for our future that businesses build sustainable practices into the core of their development. Sustainability starts with transparency and I hope that through the Kering and London College of Fashion, partnership we are able to create change in the fashion industry from the ground up. I am honoured to share my story and experiences with the students here tonight and encourage them to all join Kering and Outerknown on our journey toward sustainability.” – Kelly Slater

Kering Finalist Martin Brambley and guests

Kering Award finalist Martin Brambley and guests

Several short films were screened, highlighting the work that this year’s six Kering Award finalists undertook, and then Belén Essioux-Trujillo joined Professor Dilys Williams in announcing the winners: Ingrid Rautemberg and Neliana Fuenmayor.

Kering Award winner Ingred Rautemberg

Kering Award winner Ingred Rautemberg with Belén Essioux-Trujillo

The two winners recieve a prize of €10,000 and a work experience placement with the brands involved: Ingrid Rautemberg was announced as the winner for Alexander McQueen and Neliana Fuenmayor for Stella McCartney. “The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion is an incubator for talent” said Belén Essioux-Trujillo.

Kering Award winner Neliana Fuenmayor

Kering Award winner Neliana Fuenmayor with Belén Essioux-Trujillo

Last night’s event also marked the launch of the second year of the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion – part of the five-year partnership between Kering and LCF. If you are a final year undergraduate or an MA student at LCF visit the Centre for Sustainable Fashion website and find out how to apply for your chance to win €10,000 and a work experience placement with the brands involved for the Kering Award 2016 – Stella McCartney and Brioni.