Sculpting Utopia

Commissioned and published in the CSM Public Newspaper (https://issuu.com/csmtime/docs/csm_public_newspaper-web03), Pg 45

Winning group for BA FDM and FJ pathways, LVMH project. Photo: Paul Cochrane

With production, distribution and marketing, the global fashion industry is hurting the environment by becoming increasingly unsustainable. The amount of waste disposal and outsourcing of workers and materials in production is fast polluting the name 'Fashion'. Each year, CSM’s fashion programme run a number of dedicated projects to explore and analyse the crucial issue of sustainability. This year, two project strands were devised bringing fashion communication and journalism students together with fashion design students. For the duration of Sculpting Utopia: Transforming Fashion industry insiders and outsiders Pauline Bohl, Senior Sustainability Manager at Marc Jacobs and fashion designers Christopher Raeburn and Walid al Damirji of By Walid, talked with students, generously providing expert insight and information.

Utopian Sustainability

The brief for Sculpting Utopia (the fashion design and marketing project) asked students to design, market and address, in terms of journalism, the idea of a utopia that had sustainable solutions, focusing on resources, lifecycles, recycling and design systems. LVMH sponsored fabrics from brands such as Bulgari and Loewe for students to then reuse and recycle into their own designs. Some of the final work was exhibited in the windows that face onto Kings Boulevard, the busy walkway that runs from Kings Cross to Granary Square. ‘In House’, the winning group, looked at the idea concept of nudity and the nature of dress, set in a dystopian future in which household items became items of clothing, creating a new form of sustainable fashion and up-cycling consumer waste.

“Through this project, I really became more aware of how unsustainable the industry is, especially as most consumers have very little knowledge of where their clothes come from.”

- Sanjeeva Suresh, BA Fashion Journalism student.

The Ethical Fashion and the Kering Group: Sustainable Fashion' challenged students to explore how luxury brands could raise and maintain an aspect of sustainability through design and promotion. Students from the Knit and Print pathways, working in teams with Fashion Communication and Promotion students were assigned brands from the Kering group such as Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta and developed concepts of sustainability for their assigned brand. Each group produced a short film, four finished outfits, two handbags, press releases and a group presentation work to display the stages of creation. The work was then presented to Marie-Claire Daveu, the chief sustainability officer for the Kering group.

“This project really puts you in the mind set of professional work, especially as we were working with existing brands within the Kering group.”

- Lydia Chan, BA Fashion Communications and Promotion student

Winning group for Stella McCartney, BA Knit, Print & FCP pathways, Kerring Project. Photo: Melanie Ashley