The future of fashion is contingent on buy-in from the young generations.
Younger demographics are to credit for new denim trends, trading in skinny silhouettes for looser, more inclusive fits and damaging consumption habits for more sustainably focused shopping. It’s why many throughout the denim industry look to young professionals for guidance as they move forward, and why others like Turkish denim mill Isko set their sights on educating students slated for the fashion sector.
The company partnered with globally recognized fashion school Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) and Kering, the luxury group that owns labels such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, to develop a 10-week course dedicated to sustainable fashion. Led by Andrée-Anne Lemieux, sustainability professor and head of the IFM-Kering sustainability chair, the “Fashion Sustainability: Shaping Fashion’s Future” course covers the history and values of sustainable fashion as well as how to develop a successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.
It launched on May 17 and garnered participation from both young students and experienced fashion professionals looking to create a brighter future.
As leaders in sustainability—Isko recently became the only denim mill in Europe to earn the prestigious Bluesign seal of approval, one of the industry’s strictest standards for environmental health and textile manufacturing—the company naturally fit into the partnership. Its first-ever sustainability impact report outlined its responsible innovation strategy, which included steps for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and International Labor Organization (ILO) standard frameworks, as well as other sustainable initiatives. The report highlighted its R-TWO concept, which taps reused cotton and post-consumer recycled polyester, its laser-friendly finish, Vulcano, which promotes water savings in the denim finishing process, and how it provides workers with three times the legal minimum wage in Turkey.
These credentials make Isko a reputable source for young minds. Elena Faleschini, Isko’s global field marketing manager, led a video presentation providing insight into its responsible innovation strategy for students to watch during the course.
“The Fashion Sustainability course gives students and industry professionals the knowledge and tools to become the change makers we need in the industry,” she said. “We are honored to contribute to the course and be able to share our vast experience working to build a more sustainability industry for the future.”
Isko has a history of working with students. Its I-Skool student design competition is an educational project that brings together fashion students around the world and calls on them to develop creative ideas to disrupt the industry. Last year’s competition was the project’s seventh edition—and the first to be held online.
The company more recently showed its support of next-generation designers last month when it gifted premium denim fabrics to three Savannah College of Art and Design students to support the development of their final year collection. The college has taken part in several past editions of the I-Skool competition.