Last night Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri was guest of honour for the annual LCFxKering Talk on sustainable fashion. In his in-conversation with Eco-Age founder Livia Firth, he announced that Gucci will be joining the fur-free alliance as of next year. Marking the International Day of the Girl, he also announced that Gucci has pledged 1 million euros to the UNICEF Girls’ Empowerment Initiative. The winners of this year’s LCFxKering Award were also announced for this year’s brand partners, Gucci and Stella McCartney.

This year's Kering Award Winners - Charlie and Laure for Gucci, Dj and Jenny for Stella McCartney

This year’s Kering Award Winners – Charlie and Laure for Gucci, Dianjen and Jenny for Stella McCartney

Over 350 guests gathered including sustainability experts, journalists and industry professionals to hear they keynote speaker and learn about the research our students have been undertaking in their Kering Award proposals. The evening was introduced by Head of LCF, Professor Frances Corner who spoke about LCF’s agenda for sustainability, social responsibility and collaboration. Of the fashion industry she said:

The fashion industry can be an uncompromising place for new businesses and young designers – as production cycles get faster and with the world’s resources rapidly depleting, emerging businesses need to become more sustainable, agile and innovative.

Kering's Marie Claire-Daveu and Beatrice Lazat with Marco Bizzarri and Professor Frances Corner

Kering’s Marie Claire-Daveu and Beatrice Lazat with Marco Bizzarri and Professor Frances Corner

Before introducing Marco and Livia to the stage Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer Marie-Claire Daveu spoke about how ‘educating the next generation of fashion industry is a moral duty’.  She commented:

Educating the next generation to think and act sustainability is not only something we see as a moral duty, but one that will benefit all of us. Because we look to all of you entering luxury – and the industry in general – to have the skills to merge fashion and sustainability. You will guide our industry and help make positive changes…in the most sustainable way.

Livia Firth with Marco Bizzarri

Livia Firth with Marco Bizzarri

Marco and Livia then took to the stage where they discussed Gucci’s ambitious ten-year “Culture of Purpose” sustainability plan, which underpins the company’s approach to creating a more responsible business. Marco commented that “creating the possibility for everybody to live well is sustainability because everything starts with people.” He went on to say that “New technologies are bringing unlimited possibilities, so it’s not even an option not to change.”

Afterwards the Director of LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Professor Dilys Williams thanked the speakers before annoucning this year’s Kering Award winners. Dilys said:

It has never been more important for those working in and studying fashion to have a deep understanding of its context and to create an informed imagining of what fashion might become. A new kind of graduate is emerging with skills that can change the course of the fashion industry – if and when new knowledge from research, expertise from industry and student experimentation is brought together to cross reference and cross fertilise in a space of openness and sharing.

Gucci winner Laure Fernandez created a new method of designing and printing patterns, using microbial pigments, while for Stella McCartney Dianjen Lin undertook promising research into producing clothing that absorbs carbon dioxide. Laure and Dianjen will receive a €10,000 grant to allow them to continue their research. Charlie Wilkinson’s project aimed to replace the plastic inner materials in Gucci’s luggage with cork and bio- resin, while for Stella McCartney Jennifer Kusowski developed a proposal for the UK’s first fibre shed. Charlie and Jennifer have been awarded an internship at Gucci and Stella McCartney respectively.

Now in its fourth year, the collaboration between LCF and Kering champions sustainable practices in the industry and last night also marked the announcement of next year’s brand partners – Alexander McQueen and luxury jewellery brand Pomellato. The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion is 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 2018.