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Sustainability in the fashion industry: new course

Sustainability in the fashion industry: new course

International luxury goods group Kering owns brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Boucheron, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Possibly stemming from the company’s origins in the timber industry – or perhaps in spite of them – since 2012 it has been committed to a sustainability plan that aims to minimise its impact on the environment. This includes avoiding PVC in manufacturing operations, sourcing gold from ethical providers, and purchasing its leather from responsible and verified sources.

Until 2013 the French company was called PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), but changed its name to Kering to sound like the English word ‘Caring’. It is also a reference to the Pinault family’s region of Brittany, where ‘kêr’ means ‘home’. The new logo is an owl, a bird with incredible vision and Mon. Pinault’s favourite animal.

As part of its sustainable business vision, Kering has just announced a collaboration with the London College of Fashion to launch a new course in sustainability for the luxury goods market. The open-access online course aims to strengthen sustainability education in the luxury fashion industry to promote the wider adoption of more sustainable practices.

Modules developed by academics at the LCF and Kering’s sustainability experts include Why Sustainability Matter in Fashion, Contextualising Sustainability in a Changing World, Sustainable Sourcing for Luxury Fashion, and Informed Decision Making. The first 6-week session begins on the 9th of April. Access is free for 8 weeks, and an upgrade costing £42 gives unlimited access and a certificate of achievement.

As part of the rollout of this course, Kering and the LCF are teaming with the British Fashion Council to reinforce the message. The BFC is encouraging fashion designers to preview the course to ensure its relevancy to luxury fashion professionals who seek to expand their sustainability knowledge.  

François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering said: “At Kering we believe that the shift towards sustainability and innovation in luxury fashion is not only an imperative, in our world of finite resources, but also a goldmine of opportunity. We actively work with our Houses to craft tomorrow’s luxury via our 2025 sustainability strategy, but also wish to contribute to the evolution of luxury fashion as a whole, by sharing our expertise with industry counterparts and educating future generations. Today I am proud that Kering’s partnership with London College of Fashion takes a new step, making education accessible outside of the classroom with this the world’s first open-access digital course on sustainable luxury fashion.”

Professor Frances Corner, Head of London College of Fashion, UAL said: “Over a year in the making and based on the research, teaching and practice of Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL as well as the expertise and leadership of Kering’s Sustainability team, we are delighted to present the world’s first luxury fashion online course developed between higher education and industry.  This is significant because it signals a real desire and commitment from the industry to the ‘open sourcing’ of knowledge.  Only through collaboration and the sharing of experience can we face the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead together.  Often we can feel overwhelmed or unsure what sustainability means for our industry – we feel disempowered because there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution - but this course aims to empower aspiring and existing fashion professionals alike and help them develop their own manifesto for change.”

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council said: "In 2018 London Fashion Week focuses on Positive Fashion, an initiative designed to promote and celebrate diversity, sustainability, and openness; encouraging fashion to be used as a platform to promote global positive change, so we are thrilled that Kering and LCF have chosen to launch their new open-access digital course dedicated to sustainability with us today. Every season we see an increase in designer brands at LFW adhering to sustainable principles within their businesses and in turn promoting and contributing to positive change within our industry."