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Sustainability in the spotlight at Copenhagen Fashion Summit

By Rosalie Wessel

Oct 8, 2021

Fashion

Image: HRH The Crown Princess & Frederica Marchionni via CFS

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit kicked off yesterday, bringing together leading figures in fashion to discuss one of the industry’s hottest talking points: sustainability.

Hosted by Global Fashion Agenda, a non-profit organisation that promotes a collaboration on sustainability within fashion, the year’s theme was aptly named ‘Prosperity vs Growth’.

The clear message throughout the day was the realisation that fashion can no longer continue as usual. Global Fashion Agenda’s Fashion on Climate report claims that in 2018 the fashion industry was responsible for 4 percent of global carbon emissions. That is greater than the economies of France, Germany and the UK combined.

Regardless, the fashion industry is projected to grow within the next few years, making these issues all the more relevant. Discussions at the Summit revolved around the internal and external enablers that are needed in order to change the industry’s trajectory towards one that protects and preserves the environment.

Present at the Summit were globally influential figures such as HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark. The patron of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit and Global Fashion Agenda, she spoke about the future of fashion in a post pandemic world. “Redesigning the concept of growth is one of the biggest systemic issues of our time,” she said.

Other prominent guest speakers included Tommy Hilfiger, Yara Shahidi and Patrice Louvet. Sixty high level speakers participated in panels, keynotes, case studies and one to one conversations. Over twenty different discussion topics were explored, such as innovation vs legacy, scale vs circular, and equity vs equality.

“We want to be leaders and we want to set great examples,” said Tommy Hiilfiger, principal designer at the eponymous company.

The results of these discussions are vital to Global Fashion Agenda, as it will feed into the company’s advice on accelerating change. Further events occurring at the Summit include six leadership roundtables, where around ninety fashion leaders, NGO representatives and policymakers will examine sustainability within the fashion industry and devise collaborations in order to move forward in an environmentally friendly way. Other discussions include designing sustainable products and the potential of internal carbon pricing.

“Creating an equitable future for all begins with recognising the intersection of climate and community,” said Felicia Mayo, chief talent, diversity and culture officer at Nike. “In order for our planet to thrive, we must continue to address people and planet, together.”