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Swarovski launches new ‘Conscious Design’ initiative

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Swarovski has announced the launch of the inaugural ‘Conscious Design’ programme as it expands its partnership with Central Saint Martins, UAL, as it looks to become a driving force in sustainable development by inspiring fashion students to think about sustainability in their designs.

The Conscious Design initiative is focused on motivating the next generation of fashion designers to create their products and collections responsibly, and by integrating sustainability into the creative learning projects supported by the brand, and will become part of the curriculum at Central Saint Martins for students on MA Material Futures, BA Jewellery Design, and BA Textile Design courses.

During the summer term, each student will create work that takes unused or reusable Swarovski crystals as the starting point, embracing sustainable materials and concepts that have a positive social impact and addressing real business challenges.

The Material Futures master’s degree students will explore the power of light through Swarovski crystals and develop innovations that harness the potential of light and inform new technological or scientific processes, explained Swarovski, while the Jewellery design undergraduates will create jewellery pieces that combine upcycled Swarovski crystals with other materials, in particular ‘future materials’ that may be zero waste, environmentally friendly or part of the circular economy.

Textile Design undergraduates will be challenged to develop new crystal applications in print and weave designs that celebrate “cultural fusions” in London, while working the concepts of sustainability and social purpose into their design story.

Following completion of the programme in autumn 2019, the Swarovski Conscious Design Hub, an online platform dedicated to the initiative, will go live on the Central Saint Martins website. The open source hub will aim to offer insight into sustainability in design, with creative content from the Central Saint Martins projects, including research, drawings, experiments, videos and podcasts by students as well as leading figures in the creative and sustainability fields, added Swarovski in a statement.

Swarovski expands partnership with Central Saint Martins to drive sustainability

Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, 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 programme 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.”

Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins, UAL, added: “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.”

In addition to the Conscious Design programme, the Swarovski Foundation, the company’s charitable organisation, has stated that it will widen its support by increasing the number of recipients to its scholarship programme from two to eight BA students in their final year, split equally across fashion and jewellery courses.

Swarovski added that it 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, as it looks to drive sustainability into the fashion design curriculum through the use of upcycled crystal and sustainable design challenges, as it believes that the “ transformational power of education and collaboration can make a positive impact”.

Swarovski has partnered with BA Jewellery Design students at Central Saint Martins for over 18 years on numerous projects, and since 2011, the Swarovski Foundation has supported two final year BA students at Central Saint Martins, one in Jewellery Design and one in Fashion.

Images: courtesy of Swarovski

Central Saint Martins
Conscious Design