Saint Laurent Is Launching a Couture Training Program

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With a focus on sustainability.

As Heidi Klum once said: "In fashion, one day you're in — the next you're out." 

In the past few years, that maxim has proven itself true again and again, as the game of designer musical chairs plays out in the elite tier of luxury fashion houses. (Just today, Lanvin revealed its new pick for creative director following last week's departure of Bouchra Jarrar, who had only been at the helm for 16 months after Alber Elbaz's rather unceremonious split from the brand.)

With this in mind, there's never been a better opportunity for young or emerging designers to begin making a name for themselves in the industry. Enter Saint Laurent, who announced Monday morning that they are launching a six-month couture training program in collaboration with two educational institutions: the Institut Français de la Mode and the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.

According to a release, the program will function as a kind of internship, where students have the opportunity to work with Saint Laurent's team, which operates under creative director Anthony Vaccarello (himself only a recent addition to the fashion house), for six months at a time to complement 25 days of coursework at the schools. The program will be punctuated with a special project presentation before a jury of Saint Laurent staff and school faculty in March 2018. Applications are still open through each school.

The aim of the program is not just to hone couture techniques, but also to emphasize sustainability and innovation, two causes near and dear to Saint Laurent's parent company, Kering, specifically president Francois Henri Pinault

"Preserving our heritage while evolving and being very relevant in our epoca is a pillar of our strategy, and investing in talents is an imperative condition to build on our success even further," said Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Saint Laurent, in a release. "I am very proud of this partnership with such renowned and prestigious institutions as the IFM and ECSCP, which will greatly contribute to the implementation of our strategy." 

Other programs for emerging designers, like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, created in 2004 and spearheaded by Anna Wintour, as well as the LVMH Prize, which was launched in 2014, pair up-and-coming talent with industry greats through mentorship (and in the aforementioned cases, some cash money, too). The Woolmark Prize and the ANDAM Fashion Award are other scholarship-type programs offered to new talent; Saint Laurent's program, however, brings the learning process under one specific fashion house's roof. 

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