LVMH has announced that its Fendi brand will collaborate with Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins, UAL, in a strategic relationship to develop bio-textiles based on academic research.
The two-year collaborative project will focus on keratin, with the goal of developing new lab-grown fur fibers for luxury fashion.
For the first time, keratin will be the subject of a research project aimed at developing a fiber that can imitate a variety of high-end materials, including fur. The goal of this partnership between top leaders in their disciplines is to develop a totally new product that aids in environmental protection.
Hélène Valade, Environmental Development Director of LVMH, said that the LVMH LIFE 360 environmental plan includes a sustainable luxury research and innovation program: developing new materials, regenerative methods, and technologies will enable our Maisons to meet their climate and biodiversity goals. They’re thrilled that the Central Saint Martins-LVMH regenerative luxury program, Maison/0, launched in 2017, has yielded tangible results, such as this endeavor. This joint strategy, which also includes Fendi and Imperial College London, will facilitate the development of new lab-grown biomaterials.
The collaboration is part of LVMH's Life 360 environmental strategy, which includes a research and development program centered on the creation of sustainable luxury. It also builds on the Central Saint Martins-LVMH Maison/0 initiative, which began in 2017.
Serge Brunschwid, chairman and CEO of Fendi, said that Fendi has been at the vanguard of experimentation since its founding in 1925, pioneering traditional and creative workmanship, giving its clients the best-sourced materials according to their own preferences. They‘re actively and continually engaged in the research and development of new resources that can give even more sustainable solutions.
Central Saint Martins, Director of Maison/0, the Central Saint Martins-LVMH Creative Platform for Regenerative Luxury, said that biodesign research is a tool for provoking alternate futures and transitioning to new production models based on biological principles. Exploration of such future-facing innovation requires learning from nature and working at the interface of design and biotechnology research. He is therefore thrilled to work with their Maison/0 partner, LVMH, as well as Fendi and Professor Tom Ellis at Imperial College London to prototype a like-for-like alternative lab-grown fur fiber for luxury.
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