PINAULT POWER: Francois-Henri Pinault gave a rabble-rousing speech at the London College of Fashion on Wednesday evening, inviting students to channel their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into creating sustainable, environmentally friendly practices across the fashion industry. “We will need talent like you to work with us. We’re looking to the next generation — you. The business model of the future is one that is sustainable, and the designs of tomorrow need a lighter footprint,” he said during the inaugural Kering Talk on sustainability in the fashion industry.

Kering has entered into a five-year partnership with the Center for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion in a bid to support eco-friendly design and “viable innovation in the fashion industry.” The partners have created the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion; a full course module that will be taught each year at the LCF and an annual program of Kering Talks.

This story first appeared in the October 30, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Pinault, Kering’s chairman and chief executive officer, pointed to the strides the company already has made, including Gucci’s heavy-metal-free leather tanning and Stella McCartney’s sustainable wool from the grasslands of Patagonia. “My personal hope is that fashion and sustainability become one [and] the same,” he said. Marie-Claire Daveu, the group’s chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs, said the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion will go to two students each year. The award will comprise a monetary grant and an internship placement at Kering. The first winners will get to work at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

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