The future of sustainable fashion and design: Stella McCartney and Lenovo unveil winning concept of Central Saint Martins design competition

Peter Nasielski, an MA Design; Furniture student from Central Saint Martins, crowned winner of sustainability design competition for regenerative seaweed eyewear concept
As winner, Peter will be awarded internships at Stella McCartney HQ in London and Lenovo Design HQ in the US
Three other finalists awarded internships at Lenovo HQ in the US
Winning design revealed at a high-profile event at the Stella McCartney flagship store on London’s Old Bond Street

Last night, world-leading technology brand Lenovo, together with fashion designer and conscious luxury pioneer, Stella McCartney, crowned Central Saint Martins’ MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery 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 jewellery to acoustic panelling 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.”

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