The Future of Sustainable Fashion and Design: Stella McCartney and Lenovo

Stella McCartney Lenovo judging

Earlier this week, world-leading technology brand Lenovo, together with fashion designer and conscious luxury pioneer, Stella McCartney, crowned Central Saint Martins’ MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewelry student, Peter Nasielski, the overall winner of their sustainable design competition for his innovative eyewear design, made from regenerative algae seaweed. The winning design was revealed at an event held at Stella McCartney’s Old Bond Street store, attended by industry friends, as well as Central Saint Martins students and faculty.

The collaboration, which saw 38 MA Design students from Central Saint Martins explore the relationship between fashion and technology to create a sustainable solution, aimed to inspire and empower the next generation of eco-conscious designers through innovative Lenovo Yoga technology.

Throughout the eight-week project, the students created extraordinary and futuristic designs ranging from e-waste jewelry to acoustic paneling made from mycelium. With many remarkable creations to choose from, it was Peter Nasielski, a student from California, that most impressed Stella and the Lenovo design team.

Peter’s project was inspired by regenerative farming practices, which led to the development of his eyewear design made from bioplastic material. Using cutting-edge technology powered by the Lenovo Yoga 9i, Peter used coding algorithms to mimic the aesthetics and dynamics of natural algae formations, creating the basis of his winning design.

Peter was picked from a shortlist of four talented finalists, who battled it out in a judging day at the Stella McCartney HQ. Each finalist championed an important cause and showcased immense creativity, with sustainability at the heart of each design. As the winner, Peter has been awarded a three-month internship at Stella McCartney in a department of his choice, plus an internship with Lenovo’s design innovation team at their headquarters in North Carolina.

Stella McCartney commented, “I was truly blown away by each of the finalists’ presentations and it was so hard to pick a winner; I was so inspired by the level of creativity and innovation.

“I chose Peter as my winner not only because his regenerative kelp and algae farming project touches on something we are already looking into, but it also seems the most viable as a material innovation for both my team and Lenovo. Algae is a renewable resource and doesn’t rely on us producing more waste. It directly fights the climate crisis and, thinking beyond the environmental benefits, can also involve local communicates that harvest it.

“I really want to continue this conversation and help to make some of their creations a reality because I see a lot of viable solutions in what I was presented. I am so inspired by and honoured to support this next generation of innovation!”

Peter Nasielski, winner of Central Saint Martins’ future of sustainable fashion design project, said: “I am so excited to have been chosen as the winner of the sustainable fashion design project, supported by both Stella McCartney and Lenovo. Throughout these eight weeks, I have been challenged and empowered to think beyond sustainability and, as a result, I have created something that aims to inspire and make change for the regenerative future of the fashion industry.”

In addition to Peter’s design, the other talented finalists put forward inspiring creations and have had their design IPs purchased by the technology company. They have also each been awarded an internship at Lenovo’s offices in North Carolina. Finalists included:

  • Joseph Clinton investigated sound pollution and how it impacts sea life, researching how mycelium can act as a sound dampening material for sustainable acoustic panelling
  • Vrinda Agrawal explored the potential of re-using post-consumer waste crisp wrappers (multi layered plastics) for other innovative material purposes in her project
  • Estelle Burton focused on packaging in the luxury products market, exploring how improving biodiversity through rewilding could be incorporated into Stella’s existing packaging

Finally, Brian Leonard, Vice President of Design Innovation, Lenovo, added, “Over the past few months, we’ve seen so much creativity and watched these students push the boundaries of sustainable design with the help of cutting-edge Lenovo technology. The most important part of this experience has been raising our own awareness, stretching our minds, and helping us gain a fresh perspective towards sustainability. The result of this collaboration has been extraordinary, which is exactly what we hoped for when we partnered with both Stella McCartney and Central Saint Martins. We have been thrilled with what has been created, so much so that we’ve purchased the intellectual property rights of their designs, so we can explore the possibility of making these innovative materials and processes a reality in the future.”

Simon Fraser, Course Leader MA Design (Ceramics, Furniture, Jewellery), Central Saint Martins commented, “The climate emergency is an urgent and deeply complex issue for all design cultures. Working with the fabulous Stella McCartney CSM Alumni and her team, with our innovative friends at Lenovo, MA Design has engaged with the very real difficulties in regenerative and sustainable design practices.

“Engagements with world class design teams brings industry rigour and challenge to our studios, plus, of course, fabulous opportunities to continue to work with our partners after university. We are excited to share with you all the work of the winning designers.”

About Lenovo

Lenovo (HKSE:992)(ADR:LNVGY) is a US$70 billion revenue global technology powerhouse, ranked #171 in the Fortune Global 500, employing 75,000 people around the world, and serving millions of customers every day in 180 markets. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, Lenovo has built on its success as the world’s largest PC company by further expanding into key growth areas including server, storage, mobile, solutions and services. This transformation together with Lenovo’s world-changing innovation is building a more inclusive, trustworthy, and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. To find out more visit https://www.lenovo.com.

About Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is a luxury lifestyle brand that was launched under the designer’s name in 2001. It emboldens confident femininity with elevated yet effortless, conscious fashion. The brand is committed to being an ethical and modern company, believing it is responsible for the resources it uses and the impact it has on the environment. It is therefore constantly innovating new ways to become more sustainable, from designing to store practices and product manufacturing. As a lifelong vegetarian, Stella McCartney never uses any leather, feathers, fur or skins in any products for both ethical and environmental reasons – pioneering a movement for the use of alternative materials. Supporting regenerative agriculture and circularity, the brand is embracing new business models that will transform how clothes are sourced, produced, sold, shared, repaired and reused, promoting long-lasting products with extended use to reduce environmental impact.

Today, Stella McCartney spans women’s ready to wear, menswear, kids’ clothing, accessories, swimwear, lingerie, a performance wear collaboration with adidas, STELLA skincare and more – with 48 directly owned stores and 21 franchise stores across New York City, London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. Our collections are now sold in 77 nations through 863 specialty shops and department stores, and ship to 100 countries via online.

About Central Saint Martins, UAL

Across art, design and performance the students and staff of Central Saint Martin’s create ideas, materials and actions for a better future. Among our alumni shaping the world through creative action are Ashton Attzs, Grace Wales Bonner, Osei Bonsu, Matty Bovan, Melanie Eddy, Isamaya Ffrench, Craig Green, Isaac Julien, Kim Jones, Fernando Jorge, Ib Kamara, Afroditi Krassa, Rene Matić, Stella McCartney, Morag Myerscough, Saul Nash, Simone Rocha, Zineb Sedira and Yinka Shonibare.

MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewelry is a research focused Masters degree in Design at Central Saint Martins. Students bring a vison for their professional practice and their future place within it to realize over the two years of the course. The course is led by Simon Fraser.

Central Saint Martins is part of University of the Arts London (UAL), an international centre for innovative teaching and research in arts, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts. The University is made up of six Colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts. www.arts.ac.uk/csm

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