The brand, launched in 1970 by Japanese-born designer Kenzo Takada, has undergone a complete transformation in the last two years since Opening Ceremony founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were appointed as the new creative directors in 2011. As Rosanna Falconer, Head of Digital at Matthew Williamson said, this has given a unique opportunity to revive the brand through developing successful collections from a buyer’s perspective.
Dilys was able to bring a unique viewpoint to the discussion, sharing ideas about the relationship between designer, product, and wearer, and the new role of the designer.
“The role of the designer in communicating something that has often been very personal has really changed, and a lot of new designers are really understanding the importance of communicating as part of the creativity… it’s part of the creative process and I think you see that with these guys [Kenzo].”
When asked about the culture of the ‘It’ piece, Dilys observed that “people aim to create an identity to their work which is something that goes beyond just the cut and the make of it, the whole ethos of their brand.”
Dilys perfectly summed up the show when she said “fashion is an intuitive thing, it’s not a mathematical process.”
“They’ve brought together great people working with them and hopefully that’s what will keep it looking fresh all the time.”
You can find out out more about the show and the day here.
Last night the first ever Guardian University Award winners were announced in a London ceremony hosted by BBC education correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti, and we are extremely pleased to congratulate University of Wales, Trinity St David for winning in the Sustainability project category. The awards ‘celebrate the best of Britain’s universities and act as a benchmark for excellence across the higher education sector’.
Centre for Sustainable Fashion has been working with the support of Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE, on the development of the Green Academy programme, through which we aim to develop long-term transformational change for sustainability across the London College of Fashion and University of the Arts London. We are proud to be embarking on this programme to explore strategic and holistic ways to embed sustainable development throughout the student experience, and to be working with other exemplary institutions such as University of Wales, Trinity St. David.
Centre for Sustainable Fashion recently hosted the first in a series of events aimed at fashion educators to discuss and raise the profile of design for sustainability in fashion education.
The first event, a debate questioning ‘What is the role of fashion education in our changing world?’ involved key fashion educators and activists engaging in a lively debate to find ways in which we can explore fashion education, to improve student experience and foster sustainability throughout the curriculum.
The panel was chaired by Nina Stevenson – Education & Curriculum Development Manager, CSF and included:
Dilys Williams – Director, CSF
Kate Fletcher – Reader in Sustainable Fashion, CSF
Gemma Robertson – Graduate Recruitment Manager, ASOS
Lesley Raven – Senior Outreach Coordinator, LCF
Frankie Moloney – Students’ Union Vice President for LCF
Dilys opened the discussion by asking, we are almost at the end of the , but has much changed in fashion education?
We should be looking at fashion education as an exploration of self in connection to place, through the practice of fashion, and as a forum for self-contemplative work:
‘Time spent in fashion education can be a precious and vital place for change at a profound level – if it is about education of the person, through practice of fashion that really is relevant to time and place.’ Dilys Williams
‘Universities can be hierarchical in their knowledge structure – they value industrial knowledge above all else, which doesn’t give space for self-contemplative work.’ Kate Fletcher
From a student’s perspective, ‘fashion education is integral to finding like-minded people and creating networks and there is great value in the experience of those teaching.’ Frankie Moloney
Part of this networking value was highlighted in creating university and business dialogue through placements. ‘Working with a broad range of companies gives a strong overview of the industry, and showcases the creativity that can be nurtured in a university context.’ Gemma Robertson of ASOS explained. ‘Networking and attending events ensures you will make an impression and recruiters will remember you’, she continued, highlighting the importance of a genuine understanding of the role and market level being applied for, having recruited approximately 96 graduates in the past six months.
Within a university setting, there is ‘the need to promote collaborative working and creative thinking in education models, to create a community of practice to enable continuous improvement.’ Lesley Raven
‘We need to engage our imaginations in the ingenuity needed to get us beyond the tweaks at the edges that are obviously not making enough of a difference to how we live– fashion gives us an opportunity as it should be a barometer of change relevant to time, people and our natural world, upon which we all revolve.‘ Dilys Williams
The discussion then moved to the audience for insightful comment and probing questions. When asked about allowing space for thought, experimentation and balance within curriculum, Kate responded, ‘most of the world focus is on narrowing peoples perspective on things. Within sustainability it’s almost a progressive broadening you need. The challenge is to get people to become experts in a synthesis where they put things together instead of taking them apart.”
This challenge is being addressed within Centre for Sustainable Fashion through initiatives such as MA Fashion and the Environment at the London College of Fashion, which was that same night awarded the Ethical Fashion Forum Source Award for Educational Innovation. The course was set up five years ago by Dilys Williams as a vital part of the development of the Centre’s work, to engage a multi way flow between the research and consultancy practitioners in the centre and burgeoning creative sustainability led postgraduate students. Susan Postlewaite, now course leader of the programme is currently collating this year’s graduate work for exhibition during London Fashion Week in February 2013.
The evening provided rich and diverse discussion regarding fashion education and set an agenda for future work, which will be continued through the network, for which details will be posted in the new year.
‘We need to encourage people to foster a sense of balance. It’s at the heart of a set of values that are different, and us showing that fashion can be different. Education is for life, not for a moment or for a score card.’ Kate Fletcher
The evening concluded with a final comment from a recent graduate, Alina Moat, ‘the best thing about the MA Fashion & Environment course is that normally courses are designed primarily around the idea of success. This offered the opportunity for failure – meaning showing that you can learn from mistakes and build on them; it’s not just built on society’s idea of success.’
You can track commentary and join in the debate on Twitter by searching #TransformFashion
In the lead up to the 5th anniversary of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, we are extremely pleased to announce that the Centre has been nominated by the Ethical Fashion Forum SOURCE Awards judging panel for an award in the Education category.
The Education Award recognises commitment to integrating sustainability at the heart of fashion education, and creating ambassadors for sustainability in the fashion industry.
MA Fashion and the Environment at the London College of Fashion was set up by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to enable students to learn practical skills and theory to change the landscape of the fashion industry, challenging the status quo through innovative thinking. The course reflects and contributes to an evolving world, nurturing ingenuity and inventiveness to create groundbreaking new work, and allowing students to explore and deepen their knowledge and expertise whilst engaging in a holistic, interdisciplinary, multi leveled approach towards design for sustainability.
Image: Tara Baoth Mooney, MA Fashion & the Environment 2011
The SOURCE Awards put the spotlight on the most innovative and inspirational businesses, individuals, and initiatives in the fashion industry, globally.
The awards recognise excellence in 12 different categories, from design innovation to brand leadership across women’s, men’s, accessories, and children’s wear, sustainable supply / manufacture, education, retail, and individual contribution.
Final winners will be announced at a reception event on 4th December in London.
“Five public sculptures – Spirits of the Huveaune – take the form of female characters along the valley of the river Huveaune, situated between the spring, deep in the Provence Alps and the estuary at the Mediterranean Sea port of Marseille. The sculptures, based on historical texts, legends and stories about the valley, recount the feminine presence associated with the river. The legendry, supernatural and the imaginary that perpetuate the history of the river Huveaune are the sources of inspiration.” Lucy + Jorge Orta
The Huveaune is a coastal river in eastern Provence that originates in the Massif de la Sainte Baume and flows into the Mediterreanean Sea at Marseille. Although it has always faciliated the implementation of myriad human activities from agriculture to industry, the Huveaune is now little known and often ill treated. Eager to capitalize on this natural and cultural heritage and to strengthen the bonds between the residents of the neighborhoods and municipalities that cross this river, the Association Rives et Cultures has commissioned a work for artists Lucy + Jorge Orta in the context of Fondation de France’s Nouveaux commanditaire and programming for Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture.
The artists have devised a parcours of five sculptures entitled Le Chemin des fées, which indicate the Huveaune’s presence in four municipalities: la Fée de la source (Marie) – the Martellière, Saint-Zacharia; la Fée du pont (Ubelka) – Moulin Saint-Claude, Auriol; la Fée des berges (Manon) – Îlot des Berges Park, Aubagne; la Fée du vieux moulin (Gyptis) – Vieux Moulin Park, Marseille; and la Fée du lac (Ophélie) – Borély Park, Marseille.
These fairies, dreaming or alert, melancholic or resolved, invest these sites like genii loci and weave an unprecedented link between the past and the present. They invite visitors to discover the Huveaune through other stories and to invent new way to live with the it. Referring to the universal water cycle, Le Chemin des fées aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues related to the river’s fate, thereby raising the question of water management in the future, here as elsewhere.
Lucy + Jorge Orta
Spirits of the Huveaune | Le Chemin des fées
Venue : Marseille, la vallée de l’Huveaune
Public sculpture commission
From 13 October 2012
The model characterisation for the project was conducted in collaboration with the stylist Vanessa Reid at Pop Magazine and the clothes were provide by Celine, S/S 2012
The 3D scanning and modelling was conducted by Creaform, France. The five Spirit sculptures are cast in aluminium by Nancy Foundry, France.
We are recruiting for a Course Leader for this groundbreaking course that has produced graduates who evolve new visions for the fashion industry through their work.
This is an opportunity to join our team and to steer the path for the course. We are looking for somebody who can engage the students in new directions underpinned by new approaches to design that shape and respond to real world conditions as they evolve.
Please follow the link to the University’s vacancies page for full details of this position and note that all enquiries relating to this role should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and not to the CSF.
This last term at LCF the MA Fashion and the Environment class worked with Otto von Busch on a project called ‘Community Repair: Strategic Social Skill Mobilization for Sustainable Fashion.’ This unique and challenging project was centered around the impact garment repair can have on a community. Each of the 14 students in the class sought out unique participants from our neighborhoods to help us repair a garment that we had worn and loved. Originally scared an unsure of the challenge to meet new people and engage them in an activity they may have never thought to do themselves, we were all surprised by the engaging attitudes of our community members. From lawyers, hat makers, and shoe makers to passengers on a Eurostar train, every participant had their own story and own reason for taking part in this project. In the end we were asked what impact this repair has had on our emotional attachment to the garment, but realized it also had a deep impact on the emotional attachment to our communities and ourselves. Many of us discovered people and places right near our homes that we never would have taken a second look at had this project not challenged us to explore our surroundings.
Personally, I was in awe of the varied outcomes and, along with others in my class, believed this project was worth sharing. Having a relationship with the course and LCF, Jules Hau and Greg Shaw of Foundation Agency generously offered their showroom space to use for an exhibit. We then got to work on organizing a pop-up gallery to further welcome the London community into this project. We worked within our Fashion and the Environment Community to put together advertising, press releases, displays, personal summaries, a video projection, food, drinks and easily accessible excerpts from Otto’s work to come together in a one-of-a-kind exhibition that we shared with the public this past weekend.
On Saturday 14 May we had a Private View for LCF faculty, industry professionals, and of course family and friends. The night was filled with music, drinks, food, and a brief speech from Dilys Williams and Otto von Busch discussing the project, its impact and significance. It was a well received exhibit that we would love to continue sharing. The gallery may not be available any more, but publications still are! Feel free to contact us to receive the magazine that contains personal accounts of the experience from the MA students as well as theory and research by Otto Von Busch. If you made it to the exhibit we hope you enjoyed it!
Community Repair: Strategic Skill Mobilisation for Sustainable Fashion
Community Repair is an artistic research project initiated by Otto von Busch with support from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and undertaken by our MA Fashion and the Environment students as part of their Sustainability Solutions Unit.
Throughout the project, students have explored how craft skills among members of their local communities can be mobilised for the repair or adjustment of a garment; and how the compassion for a garment, the crafting of a shared memory and the mending of a social skin can be the needle on which the thread of gifts and exchanges can stitch up a shattered community.
Fashion is a manifestation of the importance of our connections. We use the visual signals of our clothes and style to relate to others and to our evolving world, society and culture.
Strategic Repair explores the idea of reciprocity through the act of making together and connecting within our communities, using an existing starting point of value and developing that value.
Dilys Williams, Director Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Course Director, MA Fashion and the Environment, LCF
The repaired fashion items will feature alongside stunning photographs of the students wearing their garments within their communities in this fantastic exhibition developed and curated by the students.
Fashion is a vehicle of identity in the social play of everyday life. As a commodity the fashion garment and accessory enacts wishes for imitation as well as autonomy and its ephemeral qualities make us continuously re-enact social relations.
As an effort towards sustainability, fashion needs to embrace repair as a designed feature for everyday clothes. If sustainable fashion takes repair seriously, designers might be able to reengage communities in strategic collaborations for repair; using the broken object to mend the social fabric scattered by the status anxiety of fashion.
Otto von Busch
School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg
The work will be showcased:
On: Saturday 14th May – Sunday 15th May 2011
At: Foundation Showroom
49-59 Old Street
Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour programme today and shares her views on the synthetic fibre polyester. Marking 70 years since British chemists patented “polyethylene terephthalate”, the basis of the fibre, the programme examines how polyester has been used in the past and the ways in which it will be used in years to come. Check out the interview on BBC iPlayer