About 850 guests packed the elegant Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis to hear legendary American fashion designer Michael Kors talk about his career, stunning fashion program of work and his philanthropic contributions to address world hunger. The program was presented by Saint Louis Fashion Fund “Speaking of Fashion” series in partnership with Washington University in St. Louis and Caleres. A lively Q&A was moderated by Derek Blasberg, a native St. Louisan, journalist and fashion industry personality

three questions with michael kors

In efforts to limit disposability in fashion, what are some steps you are taking as a designer?
I’ve always said one of the greenest things you can do in fashion is invest in something you can wear for years to come. We’ve always focused on quality and craftsmanship, our clothes and accessories are made to last and to look good time after time, and that, to me, is incredibly important.

As a company, we’re working hard to lower our environmental impact, from reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy to reducing the amount of packaging we use. If you look at our website, you’ll see more products made from lower-impact materials like recycled fibers, organic fabrics and even recycled sequins. And to go back to where I started—our products are made to last, so we created Pre-Loved, a resale marketplace where pre-owned Michael Kors products can find a new life. There’s lots more to do, of course, and we’re committed to doing it.

You have received numerous awards over your career, do you have one that you are most proud of?
I’m extremely fortunate to do what I love and to have other people love it, too. There have been lots of incredible moments. I was honored when Michelle Obama chose to wear one of my dresses for her first official White House portrait. And then winning the CFDA Lifetime Achievement award and being recognized by my peers in the industry for remaining true to my vision was really spectacular. I’m also grateful that I’ve been able to use my platform to help others. My work with God’s Love We Deliver and my ambassadorship with the World Food Programme have been incredibly rewarding.

Do you have a favorite collection you have designed; what season is your favorite?
It’s impossible to choose a favorite! We work on each one for so long that they all kind of become your favorite.