Fashion Week may be synonymous with after-show parties, but the 400 guests who gathered at the Google Arts & Culture space in Paris on Monday night, as the industry’s spring/summer 2018 presentations drew to a close, came together to consider fashion’s future, rather than celebrate the four weeks past.
Co-hosted by Fashion Tech Lab founder Mira Duma and Stella McCartney, who recently joined the FTL board of directors, the event marked the official launch of the FTL initiative, announced earlier this year, which is looking to invest in, facilitate and develop solutions to many of the issues surrounding fashion’s impact on the environment.
Carmen was among the attendees from the worlds of fashion, investment, technology and education, including designers Diane Von Furstenberg, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Demna Gvasalia, and fashion industry figures, notably François-Henri Pinault, Alexandre Arnault, Jose Neves and Livia Firth, who witnessed presentations by seven exhibitors, each offering solutions to some of the industry’s most pressing environmental problems.
Among the exhibits being showcased were yarns derived from the plastic waste that pollutes the oceans, a technology known as Osomtex, designed to transform used fabrics into smooth yarns, and Vibrolabs, a San Francisco-based start-up which is developing lab-grown leather.
“Clearly, some of the materials we are using today may disappear, or their use may be forbidden; our responsibility is to find smart alternatives for them,” said François-Henri Pinault, CEO of French luxury giant Kering, in an interview with FashionNetwork. “This is the role of major corporations,” he went on to say.
With a focus on materials science, biotech, nanotechnology, wearable electronics and high–performance fibres and fabrics, FTL is aiming to harness the talents of specialist scientists and engineers, whose work was previously available exclusively for industries such as defence and space, and apply their technological advances to the fashion chain. And having already secured initial funding, the company has made some significant investments to date, including Orange Fiber, which creates fabrics from orange peel waste and Diamond Foundry, a producer of man-made gems.
“Frankly, I cannot understand how designers can fail to be crazy about sustainability," Stella McCartney told FashionNetwork, believing that besides the moral imperative, novelty value alone ought to appeal to creatives. “This is a sustainable revolution," she said, " and it is coming anyway, with or without us!"
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