How could Fast Fashion become sustainable? Can luxury’s rare materials still exist tomorrow? By what method could fashion stop being the second most polluting industry in the world? Business, academia, and science experts agreed that a circular economy instead of a linear economy would drive fashion into sustainability.
Copenhagen has become the capital of the sustainable movement since 4 years now. Gathering the most influential decision-makers, leaders, NGOs and experts in the fashion sector. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit took place on 11 May 2017. The summit revealed the critic aspects that our planet and the fashion industry face. And gladly showcasing the answers to undertake change and build more sustainable companies. This year, the summit turned much more realistic than ever before, focusing on circular economy, sustainable investment, and supply chain transparency.
What Defines Circular Economy And Why it Could Work
Circularity emerges as a popular term among politicians, scientists, and economists. It is seen as the ideal business model to maintain industries in our threatened times. The principle of the circular economy is as simple as manufacturing things that “are made to be made again”. But how could this work in a world where we just take, make, and dispose of?
From design to disposition, circularity aims to reduce the consumption of resources, to reuse products, and to recycle waste. Basically, it keeps products and materials at their highest value and quality so they can be repaired. And once they cannot be reused, they are remanufactured into something new.
And if there is less production of new stuff, how are we going to make money? With circularity more services than products are born. For example: repairing offices, lending showrooms, and upcycled fashion stores.
Main Participants, Their Commitments & Strategies
The summit gathered brands that amazed the spectators with their initiatives and others that surprised them with their targets. Eileen Fisher, a brand with a basic ethos that embraces timelessness and quality, talked about its Social Innovator Project. This initiative recruits graduating students to figure out strategies that adopt circularity, for example, through reselling and upcycling. Filippa K also shared about its circular approach, which includes a leasing concept.
On the other hand, huge participants with exclusivity and trend-driven approaches revealed their strategies. Kering, the luxury conglomerate with brands as GUCCI, STELLA Mc CARTNEY, and Saint Laurent, explained that they control and certificate completely their supply chains, disclose annual environmental reports, and support start-ups to develop more innovative and sustainable materials. Tiffany & Co. emphasised its role as an influential brand and sustainable spreader reassuring its latest advertisement, which demands climate change action to the president of the United States. Ambitiously and incredibly, H&M committed to set a 100% circular business by 2040 trough the use of sustainable resources, recycled fabrics and renewable energy consumption.
The Summit’s Innovation Lab
“Science fiction becomes science fact,” said Miroslava Duma, summit’s speaker and founder of Fashion Tech Lab, a venture that works as an investment fund, accelerator and experimental lab that tends to commercialise sustainable technology and innovation in fashion. Duma talked about one-of-a-kind projects that she has invested in including a laboratory based in San Francisco. With the lab, they are growing leather without killing animals and without using harmful chemicals. They also create a man-made diamond, which is technically identical to mined stones but avoids slavery and mining environmental consequences.
The summit also served as a platform showcasing start-ups with great ideas.
Example 1: Pili is an innovative bio-production company that uses fermented microorganisms to produce textiles dyes dismissing oil and chemicals.
Example 2: Provenance (every product has a story) is a software used as a supply-chain social network that allows companies to disclose the complete provenience of their products.
How To Commit To Circular Economy As A Fashion Brand:
Sign a commitment here and show that you want to take action for a more circular fashin industry. Just follow the 3 steps that are explained on copenhagenfashionsummit.com/commitment. Global Fashion Agenda is calling on fashion brands and retailers to sign a commitment. Signatories commit to define a strategy, set targets for 2020, and report on the progress of implementing the commitment.
The next COPENHAGEN FASHION SUMMIT takes place on May 16, 2018!
Based in Colombia, Manuela Obando works as an inspiration medium and creative consultant for fashion brands. Born and raised in Bogota, her insane love for fashion brought her to Paris, where she became an adult. Her experience there led her to the conclusion that fashion should be more innovative and sustainable. Ever since she has been passionate about names that make fashion smarter and committed to inspire others to do better.