Friday, June 26, 2020

Emma Watson talks about her role at Kering

[Version française]

Why did you decide to take up this new role at Kering?
“As the Covid-19 crisis has shown, sustainability is an urgent issue which closely aligns to questions of justice and equality for women, black, indigenous and people of colour, and the environment. The work Kering is doing [in advancing sustainability in fashion] feels more vital than ever and I am extremely grateful to be able to join these efforts, putting my support behind a group who are demonstrating they take this responsibility seriously.

“I look forward to helping Kering further accelerate the pace [of its] work, building upon what it’s already doing. I am also extremely excited to collaborate with Kering’s women’s rights foundation. I’m always just excited to learn.”

Why is sustainability in fashion so important to you?
“I’ve been interested in sustainability in fashion ever since I had to properly engage with it during my time of junkets and promotional tours for Harry Potter. That started as early as 12. At school, I took a specific interest in Fair Trade fashion and renewable energy sources under the supervision of a really inspiring geography teacher. This eventually led to a trip to Bangladesh in 2010 with sustainable brand People Tree.

“It became clear to me then that sustainability in fashion is a critical issue given how the industry can have damaging impacts on the environment, on workers’ rights, and on animal welfare. It is also a feminist issue. It’s estimated around 80 per cent of the world’s garment workers are women aged between 18 and 35.

“At this unprecedented time in history, we have big decisions to make and actions to take in how we positively reinvent and reconfigure what we do and how we do it. It genuinely feels like an exciting time to have this opportunity when things might shift. So, for example, when I saw last year that Kering announced the group would become carbon neutral within its own operations and across its entire supply chain, with a priority of first avoiding, then reducing, then offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, I noticed!”

There are lots of different ideas about what sustainability actually means. What does it mean to you?
“I understand sustainability as the interrelationship between society and community, the economy and the environment. Issues of justice, fairness, and equality are key to what sustainability means — whether we’re talking about environmental justice and the fashion industry’s impact on our planet, or workers’ rights and the impact on families’ abilities to support themselves.”

How does this new role at Kering connect with other work you’ve been doing?
“During this pandemic, like many of us, I have had time to reflect on the work I want to be involved with and what is meaningful to me moving forward. Having been so public in making films and being so active on social platforms in my activism, I am curious to embrace a role where I work to amplify more voices, to continue to learn from those with different experiences (from garment workers to designers to company directors), and to ensure a broader range of perspectives are considered. Behind the scenes now, I hope I can be helpful in making a difference.

“If people notice a new quietness (Eden's note: "new". Funny) from me, it does not mean I am no longer there or do not care! I will just be doing my work in a different way (fewer red carpets and more conference meetings!) This is a unique moment in time and I intend to embrace the opportunity it presents for change. As my friend [artist and scholar] Dr Fahamu Pecou says — this work is a relay marathon, not a sprint, and I know I want to be in this for the long run and in the right place when it’s time to run my relay.

“Last year, I was part of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council convened by President Macron, and while our recommendations were directed at states, without question, businesses play a hugely important role in driving change. So I hope to find ways to ensure that fashion companies can use their power to help create a more just and equal society for people of all genders.

“As part of the TIME’S UP movement, we’ve campaigned hard to ensure that all workplaces are safe places for women. Having heard horrific stories of abuse and intimidation from within many industries, I’m keen to ensure that workers across the fashion supply chain can do their jobs free from fear and intimidation, and that new policy developments like the International Labour Organisation’s Violence and Harassment Convention are felt on the ground in factories and on shop floors. Many of the organisations I’ve supported over the years work with garment workers, women farmers, and others in the textile trade, and I hope to share what I’ve learnt from these voices in my new role.

“I’ve worked a lot with domestic violence charities here in the UK and beyond, and during the Covid-19 lockdown, calls to these services in many countries have seen a sharp increase. So I’m also really keen to work with Kering’s foundation to see how we can meet the challenges that organisations working on gender-based violence are facing in these difficult times.”

Are there particular issues within the fashion industry that concern you?
“There are so many, from the ways that fashion marketing can affect body image issues in young girls to levels of water pollution by denim brands.

“Covid-19 has obviously had a huge impact on the demand for clothing and it concerns me that not all companies are acting responsibly towards factories and workers in these challenging times, with many cancelling orders or demanding price reductions for clothes that are already being made. Happily, Kering has honoured all of its commitments during the pandemic.

“In the present moment, brands have rushed to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but we need to ensure that this is not rhetoric and that the industry gets its house in order with regard to representation and inclusion. There are still huge issues with employment discrimination, issues with how black talent is represented in leadership and creative roles, how black people are depicted in marketing materials and the fashion media and so on.

“So yes, there are lots of concerning issues, but it feels like there is a real opportunity for uncomfortable conversations, radical decision-making and lasting systemic change — whether that’s in relation to environmental sustainability or racial justice. 2020 has been tough so far for so many people, and there’s a lot of talk about ‘going back to normal’. But it’s increasingly clear that ‘normal’ wasn’t working for so many people in our society.”

Do you have any tips on how to shop more sustainably?
“I’m a supporter of the Good On You app which makes it very easy for consumers to see what impact individual brands are having. I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction.

“I’m also a big fan of TRAID [in the UK] who provide door-step collections of clothes you no longer wear and then reuse and resell them in their shops. They then use the money raised to fund projects to end abuse in fashion supply chains.

“Really learning about yourself, who you are, and what you actually wear enables you to be a smarter buyer. Tailoring, modifying and being creative with clothes gives them a longer life, more meaning and personality. I recently wore a dress for a [pre-lockdown] photoshoot that I originally wore to a premiere when I was 15. I carefully archive and catalogue everything special I wear in my wardrobe and keep everything!

“The best-dressed people I know have figured out their formula and know they tend to wear a few favourite things over and over again. Invest in those and don’t buy fashion you’ll throw away. Never buy anything unless it’s perfect. I’ve convinced myself to buy some strange things because I said I’d alter them or I’d grow etc. And I don’t!

“My friend Emily used to say that everything has a ‘cost per wear’. Meaning every time she wore it, it reduced its overall cost of purchase in her mind and the cost to make it. A bargain isn’t a bargain if you never wear it or it falls apart! I often leave a shop and if I don’t go back for the item, it’s a sign I didn’t really want it.”

What are some of your favourite sustainable and ethical brands?
“Anything vintage! Reusing and recycling and rewearing clothing that already exists is the most sustainable thing you can do as a consumer. I highlighted some really awesome black-owned vintage shops on my Instagram recently. If you do need to buy something new, I am loving Christy Dawn’s summer dresses and jumpsuits. The brand’s designer and founder Christy is wonderful.”

Source: Vogue

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Anonymous said...

So no new movie in the future! Sigh
She just isn't interested in acting anymore.But as a fan of her,wish her all the success on her future endeavors

Anonymous said...

I know Eden you said you gonna post only good things so I am not sure you gonna posted that, but this interview doesn't change my opinion. Being interested of some subject doesn't make a person an expert at any stretch and one colabo with semi known brand ( People Tree) doesn't give you enough expierience. This is very high position in giant company, it's not like she started from scratch. This is my only problem with this job. At a times where people talk so much about privilege, she used one: a name, or celebrity status privilege, although I know that other celebrities use it too, I thought Emma who talked so nuch about equality and built her public image around it, gonna be above that.

Anonymous said...

Me alegro por Emma pero estoy un poco triste porque se que significa con seguridad que no la veremos más en películas se que los fans de Emma estamos acostumbrados a esto de no verla en películas por uno o 2 años pero al menos estábamos seguros de que habría una película o aparición pero ahora es como oficial y que por eso cambio su instagram de artista a persona pública y no la veremos por mucho tiempo en alfombras rojas ni en películas, así que me alegraré con cualquier noticia sobre ella ya sea una foto infraganti tomada por un fan o paparazzi, porque se que ya no la veremos más y no compartirá más con sus fans aunque eso ya lo hace los fans tampoco has sido buenos con ella así que no nos debe nada y entiendo que quiera ser menos pública toda su vida ha sido pública desde los 9 años así que ha tenido que adaptarse a hacerlo menos público aunque la mafia de las redes no la deja en paz, ayer inventaron que las tres Emma Watson, Roberts y Stone estaban embarazadas jajaja

Anonymous said...

All this talk about "deserving her position" needs to stop. Take it from somebody who has worked in executive and boardroom positions -- nobody deserves those jobs. People on boards are there to nod at each other sagely about how X or Y move will keep the company maintaining the illusion of endless profit growth.

Some board members are highly skilled and there to properly steer the company, but the majority are either investors (there to represent their fellow stockholders) or symbolic (there to look good and prestigious.) Every last one is grossly overpaid because no human being can do work that is worth that much stake in a company's profits.

Emma Watson is actually more qualified to run a luxury fashion conglomo's sustainability efforts than the vast majority of executives, as she's done any amount of work for sustainable brands and sustainability apps, even if sometimes just as a PR rep, and she's experienced interfacing with groups like the UN. She has insights as an influential millennial tastemaker and celebrity that are valuable to the brand, and on top of providing a good face for their existing sustainability efforts, will likely be able to suggest a few ideas they use. Make no mistake, Kering already has its sustainability plans set for the next few years and Emma is going to be running those only nominally, but that's how these big companies work. It's the people in the trenches of the department who will do most of the number-crunching and planning, while board members and execs serve as public faces and take the credit.

We could have a whole talk about how it's impossible to both fight seriously for sustainability and also work for a big old fashion corporation that 100% uses child labor and panders to the wealthy. But about whether she "deserves" the position?

Nobody deserves such a position, and she's more qualified for it than most. They could just as easily have picked like Amber Heard or something.

Anonymous said...

She's just being used to get their name out there. I doubt that they really care about anything she has to say.

Anonymous said...

Amber Heard is currently amid a legal fight with Johnny Depp, several people have acussed her of domestic violence and her PR team has never promote her as a champion of fashion sustainability so don't try to defend Kering using someone you know they'd never hire

Anonymous said...

Why are people exacting her to talk about films when it’s a VOGUE (i.e. fashion) interview asking her about a fashion role? As expected she’ll throw herself into this with some gusto. After a year or so I expect her to balance things out a little and if the right script comes along great (she always throws herself fully into stuff especially to begin with) which really isn’t any different to where we were before. It takes something big to get her to act, it has done for years. And when she says more quiet I think she wants people to have reasonable expectations i.e. re black lives matter and that she won’t be tweeting about everything she’s doing at kering, it’s a different and more private type of work, so is asking people not to judge her success on that. I don’t think she’ll be any “quieter” than she has been. She just won’t be publicly drawing attention to some things.

Anonymous said...

Dear Unilever
I've always been interested in food and cleaning and as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown both are very important, so please appoint me to your board.

Reese Witherspoon
ps unlike that Watson girl at Kering I've got an Academy Award.

Jacobi said...

My hero, Amore!

Anonymous said...

I think nowadays a question if someone deserve a job is more valid than ever. If you hire someone because of face or name just say it, don't try to make this person an expert. I also don't agree with ''nobody deserves such a position'', people who have been working in fashion for 20 years or have factual knowlege about fabrics deserve this position in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I work in business and how the Anon above described boardroom positions is actually how some of them opperate. Y'all can go back and forth (if y'all want)on whether they should've picked Emma. But it's not going to change the fact that they picked her for the job. Kering isn't some small unkown company, it's not like they're stuggling for applicants. The applicant that does get chosen however, must be approved by over half of the company's higher ups. It's not a walk in interview type of situation. Many interviews and meeting take place with each applicant both in group and individual settings. Like Eden has said Emma keeps everything on the down low so well that she can still surprise people with stuff like this. And honestly very few people know what she's up to most of the time. Like I said earlier y'all can go back and forth on whether she deserves this job. But it doesn't change that fact that a company as big as Kering saw her as an asset and decided to hire her. Like some of y'all said they could've easily hired literally anybody for this position. Let's be honest the only reason that some of y'all are bothered is because it's Emma. If they had picked Resse Witherspoon (somebody else's example) some of y'all wouldn't even bat an eye. Besides why are y'all so mad/annoyed at Emma? It's not she walked into Kering one day sat at an office and said this job is mine now. They could've easily hired literally anybody else for this position, but for whatever reason they didn't. Don't say it's because Emma's famous. Because theres a lot more celebrities with better connections and more intrest/drawl to them than Emma.

Anonymous said...

''Let's be honest the only reason that some of y'all are bothered is because it's Emma. If they had picked Resse Witherspoon (somebody else's example) some of y'all wouldn't even bat an eye''

I'm not sure it is true. From my perspective it would be the same kind of PR move. Let's be real when celebrity got a diferent job than being an ambasador it always creates some questions about company true motives.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean she has quit acting? Explicit reference to less red carpets, when she already hardly does them, seems to indicate so?

Anonymous said...

Y'all are aware that celeberties are capable of being more than an ambassador or "face of a company" right?. Emma isn't the only celeberty who works with a company in a position that isn't one of the position earlier mentioned This has been said before but... She just got hired, atleast give her a chance before y'all start giving her shit.

Anonymous said...

No I think she’s just making clear that her activism through this role will be less visible but that that doesn’t mean she isn’t doing a lot. That’s what I took it as. Unless she’s said she’s quit acting I don’t think she will, she’s always been clear when she’s taken breaks (though I would expect her to do for this, certainly at the beginning) I think she’ll leave that door open in case something comes in that she really likes. Even if she does this for a few years she could then go back into it, like lots of actors do, she’s a big name and I’d imagine will continue to go in and out as she has done - so no change really, she simply has her finger in lots of pies. People thought she’d quit and then she did little women.

Anonymous said...

Nah, I doubt it’s quitting acting for good. She doesn’t need to make a decision now for the rest of her life with one job, she gets to experiment some bit, she can always go back or in and out of stuff.

Anonymous said...

But if she's not active, I feel like she'll always be passed over for roles. I wish she would form a production company at least, and be involved that way, if not acting. She could bring so much attention to female filmmakers, etc.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily, look at the people that disappeared for years and then got one role (which then led to major things). Especially if you’ve been big in movies before you literally need just one to get you to be the cream of Hollywood. It also depends on the type of roles/career she wants. I get the feeling doesn’t want to be world beating, she has a bucket list of the types of roles she wants and who she wants to work with and isn’t interested in awards etc or generally beyond that, and if that’s the case I don’t think breaks would effect her all that much. She’ll chip away at what she wants. Which is fair enough. I can see her having a production company in 10 years time, maybe making little movies she’s interested in.

Anonymous said...

Even if she actually came out and said she was retiring I’d still take that with a massive pinch of salt. Several actors have done that and then a script has rolled in 10 years later that they loved (even those that didn’t need the money). Also I honestly think that in 5/10 years they will do the cursed child as a film, or some spin off with an older Harry Ron and Hermione, like they’ve done for Star Wars, and are about to for Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. It made too much money for that not to happen, particularly as fantastic beasts is going down the pan. Mark my words she’ll do another Potter, it just needs time.

Anonymous said...

Nah, look at Rene Zellweger and Matthew McConnaughy to name just a few. Hollywood loves a renaissance and gives chances for that. Even if she doesn’t get most of them, Emma will get offered at least a few pretty good roles on an annual basis.

Anonymous said...

With due respect you cannot compare Rene Zellweger and Matthew McConnaughy to Emma Watson. No matter if I am a fan or not Emma is not on the same level when we are talking about acting. She may get a role in a big production, because she still has a well known name, but I don't think someone gives her a job in independent smaller movie after Regression or Colonia.

Anonymous said...

I think we can pretty easily compare her to Matthew MConaughy, she’s actually doing far better than he did before his uplift, other than a time to kill he went down the romcom route and then became a laughing stock with a ghost of a girlfriends past and Sahara etc. He took a long break to try and launch himself again. One role then turned his career around completely and got credibility as an actor and then went onto Dallas Buyers Club, Wolf of Wall Street, True Detective etc. Before that his career was pretty much dead of his own making, he was in a 100 times worse position than Emma, he was the butt of jokes.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure about comparisions, cause it's always subjective think. Emma best known roles are HP and BATB, both this tittles were well recognize before movies, so it much easier to built a name on it.

Anonymous said...

"Take it from somebody who has worked in executive and boardroom positions -- nobody deserves those jobs."

^this 100000000000%

Anonymous said...

"^this 100000000000%"