Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2016

Dette indlæg er udelukkende på engelsk, Copenhagen Fashion Summits officielle sprog. Vi håber, vores danske læsere bærer over med os. 

On May 12th, the world’s largest and most important event on sustainable fashion, Copenhagen Fashion Summit, took place. Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Copenhagen Fashion Summit highlighted the global fashion industry’s most innovative solutions to critical environmental, social and ethical challenges.
Hosted for the forth time, the theme of this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit was ‘responsible innovation’. The summit gathered 1.200 influential people representing 52 from all around the world.

Arrival hall
Source: Copenhagen Fashion Summit

Why sustainability?
According to our all time favourite website, sustainability means the capacity to endure; it is how biologicalsystems remain diverse and productive indefinitely. The fashion industry is globally facing social, ethical and environmental challenges and innovative ideas are necessary to ensure the future.
According to Copenhagen Fashion Institute, sustainable fashion is a good idea because:
 Fashion is one of the world’s largest industry
• Fashion is one of the most polluting industries globally
• Fashion utilizes labour in low-wage countries
• Fashion has the power to be innovative and communication
• Fashion can change costumers’ consumption patterns
Hosts Amber Velletta and Derek Blasberg
Source: Copenhagen Fashion Summit
Youth Fashion Summit & Educators Summit
Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) initiate, in corporation with Danish Fashion Institute and the Nordic Fashion Association, the third edition of Youth Fashion Summit ran from 9-12 May 2016. Youth Fashion Summit 2016 focused on the United Nations’ new Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs) and provide more than 100 selected design, communication and business students from around the world the chance to show the fashion industry what changes will create a better future.
Without a doubt, educators are amongst the most potential and influential catalysts for change. The Educators Summit, held the evening before the Copenhagen Fashion Summit aimed to help teachers collectively advance their capabilities as catalysts for sustainable change by providing an open and stimulating space for teachers to exchange and explore their insights, ideas and best practices for integrating sustainability into teaching curriculums.
The speeches were held in DR’s Koncertsal
Source: Copenhagen Fashion Summit 

It starts with the good intention
For the fourth year Danish Fashion Institute managed to gather influential decisions makers, trend setter and opinion leaders from all over the world. For somebody truly interested in fashion, the attendance was impressive and among others fashion photographer Mario Testino, online Vogue’s international fashion editor Suzy Menkes and fashion entrepreneur Renzo Rosso were on the guest list. Renzo Rosso has been referred to as the “Jeans Genius” by Suzy Menkes and he is the president of the OTB Group.
At FASHIONFLADEN we are truly proud of Danish Fashion Institute playing a leading role in the discussion of sustainable fashion. But good intentions are not enough if we want to ensure the ecological system and the working conditions of the 75 millions workers, which globally are employed by the textile industry.
At the summit’s press conference the need for a conference comparable to the United Nations Climate Change Conference recently held in Paris was addressed. The “HIGG” index is de facto adapted by the industry and assesses sustainability throughout a product’s entire life cycle, from materials to end-of-life. But we need more than that: Global goals for sustainable change and an index available to the consumer, comparable to the Fair Trade certificate.
The Foyer during lunch
Source: Copenhagen Fashion Summit 

But are good intentions enough?
If the tone (especially in the speeches of some of the bigger companies) could sometimes get a bit self-congratulatory, founder and creative director of Eco Age Ltd. Livia Firth and Chief Fashion Critic at The New York Times Vanessa Friedman were two breaths of fresh air. Livia Firth in particular, dared to call out the industry on the massive amount of greenwashing that is happening, and ask the most important question of the evening: 
Is this all talk, or are you actually going to do something?
Vanessa Friedman equally criticised the industry, but she took a more subtle approach. A lot of the big companies talked about transparency, and the importance of baring it all on the costumer. Vanessa, however, pointed out a huge problem with this practice: The consumers have no idea what the companies are saying in the reports. She argued that while transparency is all well and good, you need to bring it to a level where the average costumer can relate to – and understand it. This point is extremely important, because a lot of the responsibility is in the hands of the consumers. It is the consumer who, ultimately, has the final say in whether a piece of clothing is bought, and it is the consumer who choses when to throw the garment away. Therefore, the industry desperately needs to educate the consumers, and equip them with the knowledge to take the right decisions.

One needs only to look at ZARA, which is currently the worlds biggest fashion company, to see that sustainability isn’t the main priority of most consumers – getting the newest of the new is.
This underlines the oxymoron that is sustainable fashion, because no matter how sustainable the process is, production of clothes is going to harm the planet. To actually be sustainable, the companies will have so sell less, better and more durable clothes and the consumers will drastically have to cut down on new purchases. And no matter how sustainable they’re claiming to be, the fashion companies have but one goal: To make you buy their stuff.

Vanessa Friedman delivering her speech
Source: Copenhagen Fashion Summit