Illustrious leaders convene at the digital Copenhagen Fashion Summit, CFS+, to drive sustainable impact in the fashion industry 

By Constance Beswick

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“Redesigning the concept of growth is one of the biggest systemic issues of our time.” – Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark


Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark, Tommy Hilfiger, Miguel, Yara Shahidi and leading speakers from the European Commission, Hermès International, Patagonia Inc., Ralph Lauren Corporation, NIKE, Inc., and many more shared their views at CFS+ 2021.

08 October 2021: CFS+ – the digital edition of industry renowned Copenhagen Fashion Summit, began yesterday and brought together leading fashion stakeholders, policymakers, NGOs and investors to drive urgent action on sustainability. Hosted by Global Fashion Agenda, a non-profit organisation that fosters collaboration on sustainability in fashion, this year’s online event is centred around the theme ‘Prosperity vs. Growth’ and explores how the industry can thrive today in favour of tomorrow.

There was a clear consensus on day one of CFS+ that fashion can no longer operate ‘business as usual’ and that the current growth model is pushing the planet and people to its limits. According to Global Fashion Agenda’s Fashion On Climate report, in 2018 the fashion industry accounted for 4% of global carbon emissions – an emissions’ share larger than that of France, Germany and the UK combined, and according to the European Environment Agency, the textiles industry is the fourth highest pressure category in terms of resource consumption (after food, housing and transport). Yet, the global apparel market is projected to vastly grow within the next few years, which will only exacerbate issues. The Summit’s action-focused dialogues explored the internal and external enablers required to alter fashion’s growth trajectory to one that aims to preserve the environment and protect societies.

Federica Marchionni, CEO, Global Fashion Agenda said: ““Most business growth is still predicated on more people buying more goods, but these current business models are unsustainable. It is necessary that companies innovate new business models that deliver true stakeholder value, shape consumers’ needs in line with planetary boundaries, protecting biodiversity, promoting safe work environment and better wage system. Change also requires innovation. We must harness new sustainable technology, materials and solutions that can revolutionise the industry. We have the greatest opportunity in recent history as we can design future pathways for us and for generations to come: “a code green for humanity”, a “bright place for social justice”. These are the pathways everyone can follow.”

HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark, patron of Copenhagen Fashion Summit and Global Fashion Agenda, said: “When picturing a post-pandemic fashion industry, inspiration can also be found within existing tools and technologies that will move from idea to reality and from pilots to wide-scale adoption. However, in a time when new technology is disrupting traditional business models, and upcoming legislation will increase regulation in the industry, businesses and organisations need to think and act differently when it comes to ‘growth’, business models and systemic change. Redesigning the concept of growth is one of the biggest systemic issues of our time.”

Esteemed speakers took part in agenda-setting discussions

The event attracted hundreds of guests from across the globe and the content was hosted by revered actor and presenter Amelia Hoy. Over 60 high-level speakers participated in panel discussions, keynotes, case studies and one-to-one conversations. The programme covered over 20 discussion topics including innovation vs. legacy, consumer vs. citizen, value vs. volume, scale vs. circular, equity vs. equality and more.

Speakers included: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark | Tommy Hilfiger, Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger Global | Patrice Louvet, President & CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation | Miguel, GRAMMY® award-winning singer, actor and founder of S1C | Olivier Fournier, Executive Vice-President Corporate Development and Social Affairs, Hermès International | Jenna Johnson, Head of Patagonia, Inc., Patagonia | Yara Shahidi, model, actor and change agent | Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, the European Commission | Debbie Shakespeare, Senior Director Sustainability, Compliance & Core Product Line, Avery Dennison RBIS | Zinnia Kumar, Founder, The Dotted Line | Maria McClay, Director Google Cloud, Fashion & Beauty, Google Cloud | Andrea Baldo, CEO, GANNI and many more.

View the full speaker list here and find select quotes from CFS+ speakers in the notes below.

Today, Global Fashion Agenda will facilitate six leadership roundtables, where over 90 select fashion leaders, NGO representatives and policymakers will meet to discuss the fashion industry’s most pressing sustainability issues and to collaborate to push the agenda forward. The roundtables will cover a diverse range of topics including: designing a sustainable products initiative, how precompetitive collaboration can scale circular systems in fashion, the sprint marathon to net zero, the EU Textiles Strategy in the global context, preferred fibres, and the potential of internal carbon pricing.

The outcomes of the discussions at CFS+ will feed into Global Fashion Agenda’s work to provide concrete guidance on accelerating change.

Tackling the eyewear industry in this year’s Designer Challenge

As part of CFS+, the celebrated global musical recording and performance artist, Miguel, tackled this year’s Designer Challenge – an annual activation that matches style and ingenuity with supercharged tech solutions. The GRAMMY® award-winning singer, actor and founder of S1C  (Schedule 1 Concepts), collaborated with Global Fashion Agenda and SUNSHINE BERTRAND to create a responsible pair of sunglasses. The process was unveiled during the event in a short film and the collaborators discussed their learnings from the challenge in a case study.

View the video and read more about the Designer Challenge here.

Digital Innovation Forum connected fashion companies with sustainable solution providers

This year’s CFS+ also presents a digital Innovation Forum, enabling small and large companies to meet with 46 sustainable solution providers – equipping them with the tools to turn words into meaningful actions. The solutions address challenges across the supply chain, providing new ways for brands to progress their sustainable journeys.


Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, at the European Commission on the EU strategy for sustainable textiles: “As a sector, it’s in your interest to become more resilient and more resistant to global shocks. This is the thinking behind the European Green Deal. The new drive for a different form of growth – more sustainable, carbon neutral, kinder to nature and built around the circular economy…The circular transformation will touch the whole of the society and I’m sure textiles will play a major role in the process.”

Patrice Louvet, President & CEO, Ralph Lauren Corporation, on designing a thriving fashion industry that takes action on sustainability: “We can create value for all stakeholders and a deeper connection with employees, more compelling stories for our customers, and a more resilient business overall when we integrate sustainability into everything that we do.”

Tommy Hilfiger, Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger Global, on Consumer vs. Citizen: “We want to be leaders and we want to set great examples, and the more knowledge we have about how people are thinking and about how they are feeling and what is going on in the world of pop culture, the more informed we are and therefore, the better we are going to be at what we do.”

Yara Shahidi, model, actor and change agent, on Consumer vs. Citizen: “It’s the acknowledgement of the space that fashion takes up in our world, as both a creative force but also a force for change, something that unites us and something that brings us all together.”

Felicia Mayo, Chief Talent, Diversity & Culture Officer, Nike Inc., on Equity vs. Equality: “Creating an equitable future for all begins with recognising the intersection of climate and community. In order for our planet to thrive, we must continue to address people and planet, together.”

Olivier Fournier, Executive Vice-President Corporate Development and Social Affairs, Hermès International, on Innovation vs. Legacy: “We should not talk about innovation without talking about freedom of creation, because freedom of creation is at the core of our strategy, as we need a strong link and a dialogue between the creators and the makers, to make sustainable objects.”

Jenna Johnson, Head of Patagonia, Inc., on Innovation vs. Legacy: “If we can get companies to make less, what that means ultimately is the onus becomes on buying higher quality and companies committing to quality and durability at the heart of what they do.”

Tim Jackson, Professor on Prosperity vs. Growth: “My exploration of post-growth is the idea of thinking about a situation where our economies are maybe more dedicated to what it means to flourish in human terms and less dedicated to just chasing after continual economic expansion and continual growth the whole time.”

Debbie Shakespeare, Senior Director Sustainability, Compliance & Core Product Line, Avery Dennison RBIS: “Consumers have become mindful of their choices, calling for more sustainable, transparent, and traceable garments across the supply chain. In order to prosper from this, it is no longer a one-sided equation. All industry actors need to move from policies to action in addressing environmental and economic actions for the full supply chain. This will require collaboration, innovation, and dialogue moving to action.”


CFS+ is proudly supported by Principal Sponsor, Avery Dennison.

#CFSPlus #ProsperityvsGrowth

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