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Kering award finalists – Elena Tarabakina

Portrait of Elena Tarabakina

Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) has been working with the team at Kering to develop innovation for sustainability in LCF students across communications, design, and strategy. From a pool of applicants across BA and MA courses, we worked with the most creative and rigorous thinkers, makers, and practitioners through a programme of mentoring and coaching.

Six finalists were selected for their standout work in response to briefs from Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Prior to the announcement of 2015's winners, we caught up with each of the changemakers selected as finalists to hear more about their innovative ideas – in this blog we speak to Elena Tarabakina. The winners of the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion receive €10,000 and a paid internship at the brand.

Finalist – Elena Tarabakina

MA Fashion Artefact student Elena Tarabakina is a footwear designer by trade with an eye for sublime aesthetics and texture.

‘I want to create a rich and unusual aesthetic beauty. I want to embody the heritage of craftsmanship through the prism of modern technology.’

She was inspired by the sheer quantity of waste materials in the studio and manufacturing process and through experimentation with leather offcuts has developed a new material, ‘leather like wood’, which can be used in a series of luxury applications from accessories and footwear to interiors. Combined with other non-traditional materials of rubber, plastic and wood, Elena is demonstrating a feeling of desire and splendor that is possible to achieve through processes that are mindful of their environmental impacts.

‘Along with architecture my inspiration was traditional handcraft – woodworking and leather craft, the fascinating process of transformation of raw material into fine object. Relations between material and material and between human and material became the main interest for me.’

Through the Award, Elena worked with experts from the CSF and with Sarah Needham, Sustainability Manager at Alexander McQueen, to offer unrivalled insight to the ways in which they are telling the stories of sustainability to empower their customers.


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