Emma Watson’s new Gucci role: How the Harry Potter actor went from screen star to sustainable style champion

·3 min read
She has joined Kering's board of directors. (Getty Images)
She has joined Kering's board of directors. (Getty Images)

Emma Watson’s career trajectory has been a fascinating one to watch; from a lead role as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter to environmental activist.

The 30-year-old has now joined the board of directors of French fashion giant Kering, owner of the Gucci, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta labels.

The Little Women star will chair the brand’s sustainability committee in a role that will see her affect positive environmental changes.

But, how did the child star - whose world-recognised role was an iconic part of the 2000s - pull off this change of direction with such effortlessness?

Watson started her career as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. (Getty Images)
Watson started her career as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. (Getty Images)

The final Harry Potter film was released in 2011, when Watson was 21. Up to that point, her career had been somewhat mapped out for her.

But, shortly before the last film was released, she started a degree in English Literature at Brown University, a degree which took a total of five years - instead of four - to complete because of her acting commitments.

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It wasn’t until she signed up to Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge in 2015 that the actor’s activism credentials came to public attention, although at that point she had already quietly started her role as UN Goodwill ambassador.

She ensured that anything she wore on the red carpet from 2015 onwards was sustainably produced. It’s a role Watson took particularly seriously, working with some of the best stylists in the business to ensure she was keeping her promise.

She regularly delivers inspiring talks. (Getty Images)
She regularly delivers inspiring talks. (Getty Images)

As her role as UN Goodwill ambassador became more pronounced, fans of the actor may remember her HeForShe campaign speech, which cemented her position as an activist in the eyes of her acting fanbase.

Read more: Emma Watson’s style evolution

This interest in humanitarianism didn’t just appear overnight, though, even though it may’ve seen that way to the casual eye.

Before her time at Brown University, she spent time promoting girls’ education in both Bangladesh and Zambia as well as serving as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa.

With that in mind, her move onto Kering’s board doesn’t seem like a random step, but perhaps a considered move for somebody paving their way into the sustainability sector.

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Read more: Emma Watson’s most refreshing quotes about womanhood

Watson is also the face for the Good On You app, which rates fashion brands on how ethical and sustainable they are.

the Good On You app describes Saint Laurent as "not good enough". (Good On You)
the Good On You app describes Saint Laurent as "not good enough". (Good On You)

The app has described some of Kering’s brands as “not good enough” in the past in terms of the work the fashion houses are doing in the sustainability sector.

Watson’s know-how in this area will surely bolster how environmentally aware they are - as well as appeal to a younger audience.

François-Henri Pinault, boss at Kering, described the new appointments as having “knowledge and competences, and the multiplicity of their backgrounds and perspectives”.

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