The 2017 Kering Talk: Gucci goes fur-free, shaping a sustainable future

The big news from last night’s 2017 Kering talk at the London College of Fashion is this: Gucci goes fur-free. Gucci has joined the Fur Free Alliance and from 2018 will stop using fur in its collections, it was announced last night by Marco Bizzarri, President & CEO of Gucci. This is a really interesting step for the industry, and the announcement last night to a room full of future design talent, fashion experts and reporters, was met with cheers.

Winners of the 2017 Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion

But that was just one part of the evening’s events. There was also a chance to see first hand the next generation of design talent, with LCF revealing the winners of the 2017 Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion. And, the cornerstone of the evening was an interesting talk from Livia Firth (fresh from the first ever Green Carpet Fashion Awards, which she launched last month) in conversation with Marco Bizzarri. The talk focused on how to bring sustainability, and social responsibility to the forefront of the industry. It covered how we need to look, as an industry, at fashion production cycles, and how fashion businesses need to be agile enough to respond to the changes in the industry from new technology to cleaner, more environmentally-friendly processes.

Some interesting initiatives that Gucci is currently using to address these problems include the idea of designing with sustainability in mind: so trying to bring its supply chain more in-house, moving from the current 5-10%, to 50-70%, so that it can have better control over conditions, and best practices, by controlling it more directly. Marco also announced that as a company Gucci works hard to keep a strong focus on the people at the heart of the business, as social responsibility matters too. For Gucci that means valuing the creative community, and the artisans who help create the clothes. It also means working with the young talent both in the company and emerging talent from fashion schools like LCF. Marco himself admitted to the need for businesses to work with the next generation of talent, he has regular lunches with the people in his company aged under 30 to get their constructive criticism of the company, and he even set up a shadow committee of these staffers, to keep getting the feedback. This approach is one that sportswear giant Adidas also adheres to, that idea of working more like a start-up company than an inflexible big business, working to be always ‘in beta’, never afraid to make mistakes and eager to unlearn bad practices. As retail continues to evolve, companies like this that are agile enough to make the changes needed for our ever-changing world, are leading in this space.


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