Copenhagen Sustainable Fashion Summit 2016

The Fashion industry is probably the most powerful industry in the world, however also second biggest pollutant of earth. Such state is asking for change. Fortunately, there are leaders who decided to take action and created a global movement, which for a few years, has been tackling this issue.

Every two years, an event is organised in the world’s leading capital on sustainability – Copenhagen. The event is known as Copenhagen Sustainable Fashion Summit, and of course, we could not miss it!

As we know, the world is facing serious climate changes and other severe issues are affecting our habitat, which ultimately has an influence on both animal and human life. The global fashion industry has major impact on our environment as well as millions of people working in this industry. The good news is, that 1200 of them from 52 countries decided to participate in this summit and make a change.

kristian jensen

Kristian Jensen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Copenhagen Sustainable Fashion Summit is according to its founder, Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute, not just an event, it is a movement. The Fashion industry has a massive influence, she believes that this influence should naturally come with a sense of responsibility to generate new business models, join the creative & innovative forces and transform the industry towards sustainability.

“Concepts like circular economy, recycling, reuse, new materials, longevity and lasting quality are among the innovative drivers for new business models that can lead to innovation and stronger businesses while also minimising the impact on people and our planet”  – Kruse, Eva.

Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute and Founder of CPH Sustainable Fashion Summit

Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute and Founder of CPH Sustainable Fashion Summit

The passion for fashion and a will to change things were the driving force which brought her to organise this summit for the first time in 2009. Her aim was to:

“Start a movement and then to keep the ball rolling in the fashion industry until consumers everywhere are also inspired to change.”

The event started with a speech from The HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who linked the influence from the fashion industry to a cause she is most concerned about, which is gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

The opening speech was followed by truly inspirational keynote speeches. Rick Ridgeway, Vice-president of Public Engagement of Patagonia, a sustainable sports clothing company that proved everyone – Where’s the will, there’s a way. Patagonia is known to produce clothing from purely organic sources. Moreover, they released a “Worn wear programme” under which your worn clothes can be repaired and returned to you, or placed in street pop up stores and be sold to other people.

Rick Ridgeway, Vice-president of Public Engagement, Patagonia

Rick Ridgeway, Vice-president of Public Engagement, Patagonia

Throughout the summit, a great effort to push for more innovation was very obvious. Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer of Nike, emphasised that:

“We must do innovation and collaboration on an unprecedented scale. We need to set an aggressive target to ourselves, therefore we need to approach the materials. Imagine, that we could create materials which don’t ruin the earth, what if we develop recyclable and renewable materials?” 

Breakout Session: The Fashion Philantrophy with Susan Rockefeller and Nadja Swarovski

Breakout Session: The Fashion Philantrophy with Susan Rockefeller and Nadja Swarovski

Designers and businesses have to rethink their methods, materials they use, create new concepts, be creative. However, fashion cannot be only practical, it should be attractive to us, customers. And that is a hard task.

But what could WE do? Do we, every day consumers have power? The truth is, we have greater power than one would think. We are the ones who can make a real statement regarding sustainability. What we need to rethink is not only the way we purchase – we should not only be more conscious about buying things; but also focus on how we take care of our clothes and how we get rid of them.

To really emphasise the importance of sustainable products, the organisers of the summit decided to create sustainable promo materials as well as provide visitors with locally made and organic snacks.

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Sustainable bottles made of bamboo from Vietnam, designed in Denmark: www.notjustabottle.com

Sustainable bottles made of bamboo from Vietnam, designed in Denmark: www.notjustabottle.com

This year’s summit was an inspirational event, which hopefully, gave inspiration to those who are in power to foster political change, businesses to seek for more innovations and us, who should start changing things RIGHT NOW.

 

Photography by CPH Sustainable Fashion Summit 2016

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