Stella McCartney was "truly blown away" by the finalists of a sustainable design contest.
The 51-year-old fashion designer crowned Central Saint Martins’ MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery student Peter Nasielski the overall winner of the Lenovo x Stella McCartney Sustainable Design Competition at an event at her Old Bond Street store in London earlier this week, but she admitted she had been impressed by each of the four students who had made it to the final.
The technology brand's competition saw 38 MA Design students from the university explore the relationship between fashion and technology to create a sustainable solution using Lenovo's innovative Yoga technology and Peter created an innovative eyewear design from regenerative algae seaweed.
Stella said: “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!”
The students spent eight weeks working on their project, before four finalists battled it out in a judging day at Stella McCartney HQ.
As winner, Californian 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.
He 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.”
The three other finalists, Joseph Clinton, Vrinda Agrawal and Estelle Burton, have all had their design IPs purchased by Lenovo and will also undertake an internship at the company's offices.
Brian Leonard, Vice President of Design Innovation, Lenovo, said: “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.”