CSM FDM students are reinventing sustainability for LVMH

CSM FDM students are reinventing sustainability for LVMH

Photography Nikolay Biryukov • Model Anastasia Ivanova • Words Ottilie Landmark

A new generation and a new approach to sustainable design with collections for Dior, Fendi, Kenzo, Givenchi, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton

Designing sustainably isn’t easy, but designing sustainably for a luxury brand is a whole other challenge. For the LVHM Sustainability Project, fashion students from Central Saint Martin’s were each assigned a brand for which they had to create four looks, using zero-waste techniques whilst still preserving the brand’s heritage. Although the aim was to rebrand sustainability for a new customer group, most of the fashion students didn’t want their design to appear sustainable. An interesting, but conflicting statement that implies we usually consider sustainable clothes ‘uncool’. We can only hope that projects such as this will help changing the way we think of this matter.
Marc Jacobs

Using Gandhi’s three ceremonial statements from The Seven Deadly Sins as the starting point and as an analogy for the problematic issues in the fashion industry, the four fashion students, River Renjie Wang, Camille Bouaziz, Lena-marie Zochmeister and Yu Duan, developed a no-waste collection that takes many aspects of sustainability into consideration.

Bringing in Marc Jacobs’s heritage by adding playfulness, youthful colours and prints, the designers created a print based on a factory worker, whose face dramatically melts from working in the tough environment. Furthermore, zero-waste techniques were applied, for instance to a long navy coloured shirt, using the grain line by cutting the fabric in melting shapes and using different directions of the grain line to create chromaticism in the pattern.

“Sustainability in fashion is not just about zero waste patterns, it should be like an operating system. Production, sales methods, all need to be sustainable,” says River. An approach that suggests to incorporate sustainability into every link in the supply chain, treating the fashion industry as a holistic cycle.

Designers:River Renjie Wang,Camille Bouaziz,Lena-marie Zochmeister,Yu Duan
Louis Vuitton

Through research and experimentation with different zero waste pattern cutting techniques such as tubing and kimonos, the designers wanted the sustainable theme to be present in the looks. Fused with the sense of travelling, something that is at the core of Louis Vuitton, the designs investigate a mindful traveller. This customer group has interest in “the journey you take opposed to the destination,” and the garments are based on active wear.

Also, “an interest in the non-physical journey an individual goes through in life inspired us to design for a woman in her three age stages: 25, 40 and 60.” Consciously considering what distinguishes the different ages, three jackets with variations customised to each age group is part of the collection.

Everything is cut in squares and leftover remnants were used for collars and cuffs so nothing would go to waste.

Designers: Olivia brindak, Fidana novruzova, Krystal tay, Joyce Yip
Dior

Identifying Japan’s emerging rap scene as their new customer group whilst celebrating Dior’s modern tailoring techniques, they describe their collection as ‘geeky-chic modern tailoring for the environmentally aware creative’.

The designers managed to create 12 looks by employing two zero waste pattern cutting techniques, squares and pleating. Rectangular pieces of fabric were used to form trousers and shorts while pleating was applied to skirts, sleeves and hoodies. “Pleating not only allowed us to create shape without creating waste, but also aided our design concept.” Furthermore, “single layer cutting instead of the usual double layer allowed for more precise placement.” They ensured zero waste by folding the excess fabric into design elements and accessories such as phone cases and hangers, which fit with their customer group.

That said, the designers found it challenging to create fitted, tailored pieces using these techniques, but perhaps it is just a matter of changing habits and methods.

Designers: Rosie Harris, Lidia Cardone, Manshu (Chaney) Diao, Xinyi Xu
Givenchy

Being aware that water waste is an extremely serious matter in the fashion industry, the designers wanted to address this issue with a humorous approach.

Creating four very different characters derived from authentic Givenchy designs, the idea was to put them in a shower together under the slogan ‘Save Water, Shower Together’. “Each of our styles are quite different so the story was that our muses got in the shower together to save the water and the clothes would get a muddled feeling”, says Florence. Though it can be challenging to work on a team when everyone has different aesthetics, when the designs came together in the shower and met around the same purpose, to save water, “each person’s approach and skills were really important for the final result”.

The designers invented a flamenco dancer, a pinky man eater, a retired, frustrated man and a rebellious house wife, that all looked like they came from the past, but adding modernised elements such as latex and an explosion of colours.

Targeting a new customer group their collection is colourful, humorous, genderless and sustainable, however “without making sustainability the most important thing.”

Designers: Florence Grellier, Yanghui Lui, Orla Guilmor, Lucile Guilmard
Kenzo

Staying true to Kenzo’s DNA while adding awareness of the current ecological state of the world, a target group has been created. Building a virtual world called ‘Kenzero World’ as the starting point for the collection, “an island where people from different nationalities live together unaware of the outside world and make clothes through recycling from the waste that has drifted away from continents.”

Kenzo’s characteristic mix of cultures influenced the collection yet adding inspiration from 80s fashion icon Boy George, club culture and power suits. Experimentation with ‘Origami’ folding and new shapes of the kimono helped developing ideas for non wasteful designs.

“Until now, I have never considered how much fabric and materials I have wasted,” an important statement and incitement for the designers to not waste a single piece of fabric. Remnants and leftover material were instead used for details on jackets and kimonos.

Designers: SungWon Hong, Steph Potter, Jungmin