Often referred to as the “Davos of the fashion industry”, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit was the place to be this week. Over 1,300 participants from all over the world gathered to discuss a rather sensitive topic: sustainability in fashion. Thought leaders and decision makers from various fields, including business, politics, NGOs and the media had two days to share insights and uncover innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.
Commitment to change
One of the crowd’s greatest frustrations was that everyone talks the talk, but not many walk the walk. Even though fashion businesses are aware of the environmental, social and ethical issues of the fashion supply chain, they are hesitant to make changes. Most of them still approach their supply chains the old-fashioned way – no pun intended! Which is why the overarching theme for the sixth edition of the Copenhagen Summit Fashion was commitment to change.
In her opening address, Eva Kruse, CEO and founder of the Global Fashion Agenda, acknowledged this issue and brought it up as the reason why they introduced the Innovation Forum – “an exhibition of innovations and solutions that can help companies move on.” She also pointed to the Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, published in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, which puts forward a business case for sustainability. Not only does the report provide a glimpse into the fashion industry’s environmental and social footprint, but it also provides guidance to companies looking to find more responsible ways of doing business. In other words, guidance to walk the talk.
Lead by example
To offer an example of how words can turn into action, Stella McCartney took the stage to talk about her commitment to sustainability. For instance, she told the audience that she gave up using sequins because they’re made of PVC. In some ways, this decision limits her designs. But she sticks with it, nonetheless.
She also explained why the fashion industry needs to change and what a sustainable fashion future looks like for the Stella McCartney brand. And she called for other fashion businesses to join the movement because she “needs help.”
We arrived at a place where doing things in a conventional way is outdated and unsustainable. For instance, using animals is, in my opinion, not relevant or fashionable anymore – Stella McCartney, 2018 Copenhagen Fashion Summit.
If you want to change something but don’t know what or how, Stella’s commitment to no-fur, no-leather collections may inspire you. I encourage you to check out this recording of her speaking at the event.
The 2018 Copenhagen Fashion Summit is now over, but the journey to sustainability in fashion will continue. Hopefully, at an accelerated pace!