Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2017

This year’s theme: Commitment to Change

Tomorrow (11th May 2017) is Copenhagen’s annual Fashion Summit: a large gathering of fashion and sustainability professionals and influencers; it’s an important event for how the industry can move into a more sustainable space. Through a series of presenter sessions, networking break-outs and closed-door meetings the aim is to¬†create a common understanding and obtain¬†industry-wide commitment on the most critical issues facing the fashion industry and the planet.

Importantly, this year there will be a younger generation of attendees – more than 100 top students from the Youth Fashion Summit will attend and present the next generation’s views and ideas for the future of the industry. This younger generation, although I am desperately trying to still class myself as part of it, is crucial¬†for an increasing positive¬†change. More than ever, these are a generation of people who want to do something good for the world, have a more holistic understanding of what the impacts on the planet are, and have ideas about what solutions they’d like to see in place.

Although only in it’s 5th year, in recent years we’ve learned a lot from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, to highlight just a few things:

  • There is more demand than ever for ethical fashion – confirmed by the likes of high street brands H&M and ASOS.com as well as higher-end brands like Stella McCartney.
  • The next generation are key – increasingly universities are offering degrees in sustainability-related topics and with some specifically offering sustainable fashion degrees (e.g. ESMOD Berlin’s MA Sustainability in Fashion¬†& UAL’s ‚Äď MA Fashion and the Environment).
  • It’s not just the production of garment – more and more brands emphasize the effects of washing and drying clothes, unnecessary 60¬į washing instructions are now a thing of the past.
  • Campaigning works – demonstrated recently by the #whomademyclothes campaign, individuals, brands and celebrities are all getting involved, sharing awareness and changing the demand on brands and their transparency. At the 2014 Summit, Livia Firth strode on stage before her presentation and proceeded to turn her jacket inside out to demand greater knowledge about who made her clothes.

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This year, speakers will include Simon Platts, Director of Sourcing at ASOS.com, Journalist Lucy Siegle, Founder & Creative Director at Eco-Age, Livia Firth and Daniella Vega, Director of Sustainability at Selfridges to name just a few. You’ll be able to follow the activity on Twitter (@CphFashSummit¬†) and through the hashtag¬†¬†on both Twitter and Instagram.

As an individual, sometimes you’re unsure about what you can do as the decisions really seem to be made higher up the corporate chain. However, many of us forget our power as consumers – what we demand, eventually collectively is recognised by retailers. With enough of us standing together, fashion follows our favours. The very best you can do is continue to support brands who are acting sustainably and ethically, keep asking those who aren’t to be better, and to consider our own shopping (and hoarding!) habits – do we need to buy something new? Do we ever wear that pair of jeans any more?

In essence, the goal for this Summit is to have tangible outcomes and reasonable calls to action in supply chain, sourcing, design, production and end of life. Whilst we need brands to make changes internally, we should all do our bit to be part of the movement.

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