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Swarovski Scholars, Conscious Design & the Sustainable Fashion Stars of Tomorrow

June 7, 2019 in Slow Luxury Fashion
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BA Fashion Students
BA Fashion Swarovski Scholars at St Martins College of Art and Design

“ If you want to Change the Status Quo It Starts With Education.”

Swarovski, the 125-year-old heritage luxury crystal company celebrated for sprinkling Hollywood stardust over films such as the Great Gatsby and Bohemian Rhapsody and putting affordable (crystal) diamonds into the nation’s jewellery boxes has launched the Conscious Design Programme with St Martin’s School of Art and Design London to embed sustainable thinking into the heart of the school’s prestigious degree curriculum and create a new wave of sustainable fashion and design stars.

Swarovski Crystal Dress
Embellished Gown using Swarovski Sustainable Crystals

The goal is simple. To nurture the next generation of fashion designers, jewellery designers and design stars to create sustainable products that capture the imagination and eradicate fashion’s long and dirty history of pollution, exploitation and damage to the natural environment.

The Power of Education

While the task might appear daunting, given the scale of the problem, we think it it is the best way to bring about a profound culture change and to clean up the fashion industry from the inside out. As a spokesperson for Swarovski commented, “ The company believes in the transformational power of education and collaboration to make a positive impact, and that design can be a driving force of sustainable development and cultural change.”

It also makes sense to start at the top.

Central St Martin's London
Students at Central Saint Martins Campus

St Martin’s is one of the leading fashion schools in the world and attracts the brightest and most gifted students from across the globe to study at the school’s campus in the heart of regenerated Kings X.  Swarovski aims to inspire and challenge the fashion, design and jewellery stars of tomorrow to flex their creativity and create beautiful, compelling collections sustainably and responsibly with help from the brand which aspires to be a leader in the growing movement of conscious luxury –which stands for putting back more than you take from people, earth and the natural environment.

Swarovski certainly practices what it preaches. The company has a long history of environmental stewardship and it has reduced its water consumption across all its manufacturing plants by 20% and energy use by 30% since signing up the UN Sustainability Goals in 2016.

Positive Change in Fashion

Commenting on the launch, Nadia Swarovski said, “: “We are delighted to reaffirm our longstanding commitments to sustainability and to the outstanding creative education provided by Central Saint Martins with our new Conscious Design program and the Swarovski Foundation’s expanded support for student scholarships. The hugely dedicated and talented students and faculty at Central Saint Martins are creating much needed positive change in the fashion industry and beyond. As a company with a 125-year heritage of innovation, creative collaboration and responsible business it is a true pleasure to support them on their journey.”

Swarovski Crystal Collar
Fashion Meets Art- Swarovski Embellished Sustainable Crystal Collar

The new Conscious Design program will form part of the curriculum at Central Saint Martins, UAL for students on three courses: MA Material Futures, BA Jewellery Design, and BA Textile Design. During the summer term, each student will create work that takes Swarovski up cycled crystal as its starting point, embracing sustainable materials and concepts that have a positive social impact and addressing real business challenges.

Through this program, Swarovski aims to incubate the next generation of conscious designers who will contribute towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

Swarovski Student Scholars
BA Jewellery Swarovski Scholars St Martins School of Art and Design.

Material Futures (MA) students will explore the power of light through the medium of Swarovski crystal. As future thinkers, these students will develop innovations that harness the potential of light and may inform new technological or scientific processes.

Jewellery Design (BA) students will create jewelry pieces that combine up cycled Swarovski crystals with other materials, in particular ‘future materials’ that may be zero waste, environmentally friendly or materials from the circular economy.

Textile Design (BA) students will be challenged to develop new crystal applications in print and weave designs that celebrate cultural fusions in the city of London, working the concepts of sustainability and social purpose into their design story.

Swarovski Crystal Fashion
Viktor and Rolf Dress Embellished with Swarovski Sustainable Crystals

Conscious Design Hub

Following completion of the program in Autumn 2019, the Swarovski Conscious Design Hub, an online platform dedicated to the program will go live on the Central Saint Martins website. The open source hub will become a platform that offers insight into sustainability in design, featuring creative content from the projects, including research, drawings, experiments, videos and podcasts by students as well as leading figures in creative and sustainability fields.

More Swarovski Scholars

Swarovski is currently working on educational initiatives with 17 design schools globally including Parsons School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Bunka Fashion College, driving sustainability into the curriculum through the use of up cycled crystal and sustainable design challenges.

Diving deeper into the scope of the programme, the aim will be to challenge the students to develop new methods of producing textiles, jewellery and lighting that utilize closed-loop production, sustainable fibres, recycling and circular making to create an exciting new wave of low impact jewellery, fashion and lighting that captivates without harm.

Following completion of the program in Autumn 2019, the Swarovski Conscious Design Hub, an online platform dedicated to the program will go live on the Central Saint Martins website.

Central St Martin's
Central St Martins London

Open Source Sustainable Design

The open source hub will become a platform that offers insight into sustainability in design, featuring creative content from the projects, including research, drawings, experiments, videos and podcasts by students as well as leading figures in creative and sustainability fields.

Swarovski is currently working on educational initiatives with 17 design schools globally including Parsons School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Bunka Fashion College, driving sustainability into the curriculum through the use of up cycled crystal and sustainable design challenges.

Empowering Our Scholars

Till, Head of Central Saint Martins, UAL, commented: “As the world begins to recognise the full impact of the environmental crisis, it is beholden on all of us at a personal and individual level to focus our actions on the issues of climate emergency. I am therefore delighted that Central Saint Martins is partnering with Swarovski on this new initiative, which will empower our students to develop their work in a context that spotlights their wider responsibilities as designers.” 

Swarovski Sustainable Crystals
Swarovski Sustainable Crystals in every colour from the rainbow

Swarovski Scholars Programme

In addition to Swarovski’s support for the Conscious Design program, the Swarovski Foundation – the company’s charitable organization – is committed to promoting creative excellence and supporting education in the arts whilst helping remove barriers to access in the creative industries.

The Tools For Success

2019 sees the Swarovski Foundation widen its support by increasing the number of recipients to its prestigious Swarovski scholarship program from two to eight BA students in their final year, split equally across fashion and jewellery courses.

Steven (Hao-Yang) Lai, jewellery student and one of the eight lucky design Swarovski scholars, commented: “I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honour and I am deeply appreciative of the support of the Swarovski Foundation. Receiving this scholarship has given me the confidence to push myself further in personal and professional growth.

The scholarship has lightened the financial burden of materials and maintenance costs, allowing me to focus on the more important aspects of creativity and learning.”

www.swarovskigroup.com

www.swarovskifoundation.org

@swarovskifoundation

We hope you enjoyed reading our fashion news feature. Read more inspiring journalism on sustainable fashion like this long-form feature on Circular Economy Fashion by our editor, Alison Jane Reid – The Golden Age of Circular Economy Fashion Follow us @ethicalhedmag

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about the author

Alison Jane Reid

Alison Jane Reid - Journalist, Editor & Emerald Princess of Slow, Sustainable Luxury Living - 18 year track record interviewing real icons for: The Times, The Lady, You, The Mirror and Country Life. Now leading her alluring fairtrade, emerald revolution - Don’t Miss Out - Have you joined The Ethical Hedonist set?



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