4 questions to Laure Fernandez, winner of Kearing Award for Sustainable Fashion

With a partnership between the Kering Group and the London College of Fashion, the 2017 edition of "Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion" celebrates the talent of young fashion students and their new conscious approach to fashion design. Let's make a chat with Laure Fernandez, one of the 4 winners.

"The future of the luxury industry is dependent on the next generation of sustainable materials and processes." (Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs, KERING)
Launched in 2014 in a 5-years partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion in London, the "Kering Fashion Award for Sustainable Fashion" as annual competition wants to stimulate the fantasy of young students in fashion design, communication and business in order to find new ways to think about fashion production process with a sustainable impact on enviroment. 

In this 2017 edition the projects, developed in three phases of laboratories and meetings with professionals, were presented to two leading luxury brands, Gucci and Stella McCartney, both even more supporters of young talents and involved in sustainability.

Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion winners: Jennifer Kusowski (left), Laure Fernandez (center-left), Charlie Wilkinson (center-right) and Dianjen Lin (right)

Among hundred of starting partecipants and 10 finalists were selected 4 winners, able to translate the new needs of human wellbeing and respect for Nature with innovative design processes: CHARLIE WILKINSON, who propose to substitute the inner plastic materials of Gucci's luggages with cork and bio-resin; JENNIFER KUSOWSKI, who presents a project for the first fiber shed in uk; DIANJEN LIN, who projects clothes that absorbe carbon dioxide; LAURE FERNANDEZ, who propose a new printing process, better explained in the second part of this article with an exclusive interview.

Laure Fernandez (London College of Fashion) working at new wearable technologies

The 26 years old fashion and textile designer LAURE FERNANDEZ, after a previous MA degree at the Esimode Fashion School in South of France and a 6 months stimulating working experience as Couture assistant at Iris Van Herpen in Amsterdam, decided to confirme her interest for textile and material development studying at MA Fashion Futures course at London College of Fashion. Here she has started to explore sustainable alternatives to classic fashion production, specializing in biotechnologies, sustainable design and  materials psychology.

Laure Fernandez's project for Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion choosen by Gucci

Her project titled "Future Artisans" for the Kering Award, choosen by Gucci as winner of €10000 grant to continue the reasearch, is really remarkable and opens new frontiers of wearable technology.
She has developed a method of printing unique and fancy patterns on fabrics using microbial pigments. Let's make a chat with Laure, to better know her project and vision of the future fashion.

Laure Fernandez's project for Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion choosen by Gucci

Hi Laure, can you describe the project winner of the "Kering Award"?

For the "Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion" I explored dyeing and printing processes in the fashion industry. Synthetic dyes contain a wide range of chemicals,  harmful for the environment, while natural dyes require large quantities of water and lack longevity and brightness in the colors. 
Through the cross-pollination of technology, biology and design, the use of micro-organisms producing pigments on textile is considered as a promising alternative. Natsai Audrey Chieza is a design futurist and the pioneer of that process. 

"Future Artisans" explores the possibilities to create alternative patterns by exposing the micro-organisms to a sensory experience and influence their behavior through sound. The idea is to raise awareness among the public around the origin of the colors that we wear but also to share the incredible features that nature how, in order to create in harmony with other living beings. Gucci's culture of print was an amazing opportunity for that!
Laure Fernandez's project for Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion choosen by Gucci
Why you choose to approach to sustainable fashion?

I choose to approach fashion from a sustainable angle because I cannot imagine it another way. We know the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, we can not ignore it anymore and incredible alternatives are still waiting to be discovered. I want to tell new stories, around a symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature through fashion, and show to the public that living in harmony, and balance between nature and technology for a more sustainable future, is possible.

"Human Microbiome" project by Laure Fernandez from her portfolio

How much are important the studies you're making at London College of Fashion and whate are the most important things you've learned about sustainability and wearable technology?

While studying fashion design, for 4 years, and then doing several internships in different countries, I was questioning a lot the meaning of what I was creating, its purpose, its message.
When I found out about this course, MA Fashion Futures, at London College of Fashion, I knew it was exactly what I needed in order to look for answers. Education is the base of everything and future designers need to be aware of the environmental and human impacts for each choice they make.

"Fashioned by Nature" project by Laure Fernandez and Maryssa Cook-Obregon

In your opinion what will be the future of fashion afeter this period of crisis?

In my opinion, the future of fashion will provide new meaningful experiences beyond the (too) simple fact to buy and wear a piece. Throughout history, fashion shared its 'edgy and activist soul’ by being a voice for changes in customs and society, and I believe that today and tomorrow, Luxury brands will one more time show us the way.

I would like to thank Laure Fernandez for her willingness to explain this amazing project. 
To see more about her works, look at:

Dear Reader, what do you think about Laure's project and sustainable fashion?
See you soon with other fashion stories!