Francois-Henri Pinault shares his thoughts on sustainability

Francois-Henri Pinault shares his thoughts on sustainability

'Why sustainable fashion is smart business'

Francois-Henri Pinault is doing his best to make sure that sustainability never goes out of fashion. The Kering group chief spoke on the crucial issue at a recent talk at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, find out what he had to say...

Francois-Henri Pinault has brought sustainability to the fashion-fore with his talk at New York's Parsons The New School for Design, under the title – 'Why Sustainable Fashion is Smart Business.' The issue has been making headlines in recent weeks and months, not least with Pinault's own Kering and H&M recycling initiative, which was brought into focus during the talk, and also platforms like Business of Fashion (BoF) raising awareness for the issues on its new 'Voices' platform

Pinault is sending a very clear message to the fashion world, saying that sustainability is "not an option – you do it like this or you don't do it." The Kering chief is emphatic about the company's commitment to bring about change in practice to an industry that has a terrible reputation for producing pollution and waste. Pinault credits entrepreneur and philanthropist Sit Richard Branson, for encouraging him to spread the message and inspire other corporations to join his plight. 

Pinault spoke in more detail about the Worn Again developed-developed technique of separating the colour and precious fibres from chemicals, which allows for the recycling of fibres. The technique that Kering and H&M are launching into.

He also went into detail of a new tanning method that reduces pollutants, that has been developed with a German University. The new method of tanning leather is more costly, in monetary terms, but less in environmental terms. The Kering groups's Gucci brand is currently actively using this method on 15 per cent of its tanning needs with a view to increasing this. In a characteristically altruistic move, Pinault declared that he wants to make the technology for this method available to all companies. "If you find a solution like this and you use it as a competitive advantage, you miss completely the point," he said.

He also praised Stella McCartney, the acknowledged poster child for sustainability, who proudly sits within the Kering group. Pinault exalted her practices as being head and shoulders above all other brands, whilst continuing to be profitable and fashion forward designer: "She's been doing sustainability in such a way that none of the other brands are even close to her. But no one knows. If you're not involved with sustainability you don't know that Stella is about that." He said. We look forward to reporting more on sustainability in fashion, as more brands join these leading examples.