Parsons students will consider sustainability long before their designs hit the runway.


Sustainability is engrained in the ongoing partnership between The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Kering, and now through a new design curriculum, students will see up close how their creations would impact the environment.

The “Kering x Parsons: EP&L program” and the “My EP&L app” will break down some of the numbers detailing fashion’s effect on planet earth. Kering modules will be offered to students in three senior Systems & Society Thesis sections and two Materiality Thesis sections. Students will be able to examine Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss methodology, which quantifies the various environmental impacts from Kering’s business activities throughout its supply chain.

With the app, the aim is to ensure that students learn to integrate sustainability from the beginning of the design process, comparing how material choices, sourcing and manufacturing would impact the environment. Students’ thesis projects will subsequently be evaluated and scored for design and sustainability criteria. The leading 10 students will have their designs displayed in an exhibition, following the course and hosted by Kering and Parsons.

As part of the Parsons curriculum, the My EP&L app is based in Kering’s EP&L methodology. It is meant to be a simple way for design students and the fashion industry to visualize the environmental impact of a typical product from raw material extraction through to sales. The app focuses on four items — jackets, shoes, handbags and rings. Users can select the raw materials used (such as cashmere, wool, organic cotton, leather), where these are sourced from and manufactured. The environmental impacts from such categories as carbon emissions, water use, water and air pollution, waste production and land-use changes are analyzed from 5,000 factors to calculate a product’s impact.

The app is also meant to be used as a comparative tool so users can get a better understanding and make smarter decisions to create more sustainable designs. For example, users can see the differences between a French leather bag made with a Chinese silk lining and Chilean brass hardware versus an American leather bag with a Chinese linen lining and Chinese bamboo hardware. The first choice would result in environmental savings of 26 percent.

Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering, said, “My EP&L illustrates the power of an EP&L analysis and will assist fashion designers to easily calculate better options in real time in order to embed sustainability into their products at the very beginning of the design phase.”

Burak Cakmak, dean of fashion at Parsons School of Design, said, “Sustainability education is vital for our students, and with Kering’s help, Parsons will be educating the next generation of fashion industry leaders who can create powerful change.”

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