Over the last few years, we have seen sustainable practices gradually infiltrate mainstream fashion events. Following the annual Met Gala on Monday, we were left contemplating whether a night so unapologetically centred around extravagance could in fact be carried out more sustainably.
Below we explore some of the guests who championed sustainable fashion at this year’s Met Gala and consider what this says about the trajectory of the red carpet more broadly.
Outfit Repeating & Archival Looks
Due to the very nature of the theme of the 2023 Met Gala – a veneration of the late Karl Lagerfeld, whose career spanned 65 years – vintage and archival outfits were not in short supply. Among some of the most admired outfits of the evening there was a distinct lack of newness, and this is worth celebrating.
Some of the events standout moments included Nicole Kidman’s outfit-repeat of the iconic feathered gown she wore in the 2004 Baz Luhrmann-directed Chanel No 5 advert. Gisele Bündchen’s rewear of a Chanel Couture sequin ensemble, which she previously wore in a Vogue Korea editorial in 2007, was another notable fashion statement. Furthermore, Met Gala Co-Chair, Dua Lipa, turned to Lagerfeld’s archives and wore an A/W 1992 Chanel bridal look for her arrival, originally modelled by Claudia Schiffer on the runway. Later in the evening, she changed into another archival 1995 Chanel Couture dress.
Guests such as Margaret Qualley, Naomi Campbell, Kristen Stewart, Penélope Cruz, Sofia Coppola, Lila Moss, Christine Chiu, Suki Waterhouse, Yara Shahidi and Huma Abedin were among others who also wore archival outfits – spanning from decades old to only a few years old.
Sustainability trailblazer, Gabriela Hearst, is the Creative Director and Designer at Chloé – a position previously held by Lagerfeld on-and-off between 1963 to 1997. As such, Hearst cited the archival work of Lagerfeld at Chloé in looks for herself, Vanessa Kirby, Maude Apatow and Olivia Wilde.
During this year’s Met Gala livestream breaks, a new collaboration was announced between eBay and Vogue, fronted by Ice Spice who has curated a vintage selection for eBay. It is encouraging to see influential artists such as Ice Spice promoting pre-loved fashion.
In many ways, the Met Gala serves as a bellwether for the broader industry, signalling that vintage and pre-loved goods are only going to increase in popularity. This is echoed in the latest ThredUp resale report which predicts that the global secondhand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching $350 Billion. Secondhand goods are not only to be celebrated because they present an opportunity to wear something entirely unique, but the same report suggests that buying and wearing secondhand clothing instead of new reduces carbon emissions by an average of 25%.
Indeed, vintage fashion is already being spotlighted on 2023 red carpets. For example, Timothée Chalamet wore a vintage leather look from Helmut Lang’ S/S 1998 collection at the recent CinemaCon event. Similarly, Kendall Jenner sported a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier dress, from the brand’s S/S 2008 Haute Couture collection at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party 2023.
There’s also a marked increase in people outfit repeating on the red carpet, with Cate Blanchett proudly leading this effort. The Princess of Wales and Kate Winslet have also done so this year. Thanks to the wonderful efforts from the likes of RCGD Global, we can only expect to see more of this in the coming years.
Championing Sustainable Design
According to The GFA Monitor 2022, the environmental impact of a garment is largely determined in its design phase. As such, it was promising to see some guests champion more sustainable design at this year’s Met Gala.
Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and Environmental Activist, Maya Penn, are the first people to wear custom looks from the new circular sub-brand from Coach, Coachtopia, which reuses materials that would otherwise go to waste. Outfit embellishments were made from the likes of discarded cans, bottles, ticket stubs and maps salvaged from bins around the Met Museum.
Alexa Chung wore a Róisín Pierce dress, a designer who focuses on thoughtful ways of cultivating new surface textures through deadstock, material recycling and zero waste cutting. Pierce was one of eight finalists of last year’s prestigious LVMH Prize – revered for her alignment of luxury with core sustainability principles.
Aubrey Plaza and Madelyn Cline attended the Met Gala alongside designer, Stella McCartney, who is heralded for her commitment to sustainable practices. During an interview on the official event livestream, Plaza amplified McCartney’s message and gave a shoutout to the fact that her dress was sustainable. This comes after Cara Delevingne recently modelled the first-ever garment made from plastic-free, plant-based sequins by Stella McCartney for her Vogue cover shoot in April.
Innovation in the fashion scene paves the way for a future where style and sustainability can coexist harmoniously.
Beyond The Outfits
Beyond the clothing, this year’s centrepiece installation within the Museum was crafted from thousands of recycled water bottles. Event Planner, Raul Àvila, said: “Given today’s climate, we wanted to highlight the importance of giving our everyday items more than one life cycle,”
However, given the opulence of the Met Gala, climate activists staged a protest. Moreover, on the basis of some of Karl Lagerfeld’s controversial remarks, this year’s theme attracted much criticism. The Model Alliance held protests the day before the event and pushed for the Fashion Workers Act in New York to be passed, a bill proposing basic protections for models. This aspect of Lagerfeld’s legacy cannot be overlooked.
The message was clear: Timeless design that can endure the ever-elusive trend cycles is worth celebrating. Fashion is a crucial medium for creative expression and should indeed be celebrated, but as we look to the future, we hope the Met Gala will amplify the voices advocating for positive change and further champion the cause of sustainability.
We cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach and the Met Gala offers another platform for engaging people in conversations about the necessary direction for the industry, as it draws a vast global audience.
Global Fashion Agenda’s upcoming Global Fashion Summit is the leading forum for sustainability in fashion. This June, the Summit will gather the industry’s foremost leaders, visionaries, researchers, politicians, environmentalists, global opinion makers, journalists and more to explore a range of interconnected topics, all under the Summit’s theme of ‘Ambition to Action’.
Fashion weeks around the world can be characterised by creativity, commerce and consumption at all costs. Whilst this may remain the case for the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks, over the last few years Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) has firmly cemented itself as a frontrunner for the fifth spot, not least because it is flipping the script on the conventional approach. The Danish capital is distinguished for both the covetable Scandi style it showcases as well as its rigorous sustainability strategy. Despite being a smaller fashion week, its comprehensive brand standards and bold actions are certainly no narrow feat.
Holistic & Collaborative Approaches
First outlined in the 2020 Sustainability Action Plan, this season, CPHFW’s 18 minimum Sustainability Requirements came into effect for the first time. These standards encompass everything from; supply chain due diligence and utilising at least 50% certified, deadstock, preferred, upcycled, new-generation or recycled materials in all collections, to using zero-waste show sets and not destroying unsold garments. Brands that fail to meet these standards are unable to showcase. Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week, told Vogue that this framework has indeed accelerated change and CPHFW will continue to assess and increase standards in accordance with the industry landscape and legislation.
CPHFW worked closely with the brands ahead of the implementation of the requirements, making this yet another example of the crucial role collaboration and alliances play in the sustainability movement. Not dissimilar to B Corp certification, meeting the sustainability requirements is based upon self-reporting with the support of a consulting partner for assessment. Currently no external audits are made.
GFA’s Associate Partner, Zalando, once again presented its prestigious sustainability award. The initiative champions the brands that drive positive change and this season’s recipient was the brand STAMM. The brand will subsequently receive €20,000 and the opportunity to collaborate on an exclusive collection with Zalando – leveraging sustainable materials, production and distribution methods. The jury were reportedly impressed by the brands use of recycled down in the puffer jackets and Indian Khadi, a heritage textile comprised of organic hand spun cotton. Explore the finalists in the Zalando Greenhouse.
For future editions of the award, we can expect brands to focus on collaboration across the ‘glocal’ supply chain as well as with material innovators. We’ll see more leveraging of circular design beyond production – considering the longevity, technical durability and recyclability of products. Finally, in an increasingly regulated space, product claims will need to be backed up with meticulous credentials – a challenge for both the sustainability and the fashionability of future collections for designers at all levels.
The A/W 23 Showcase from another of GFA’s Associate Partners, Ganni, was the first since they became a certified B Corp. Ganni is renowned for its honest approach around ‘not being a sustainable brand’, acknowledging that it is on a journey towards progress and change. Vogue reported that every style in this collection featured at least 50% certified recycled, lower-impact or organic materials and it introduced a new bag made from orange and cacti waste. This is in line with Ganni’s overall ambition to phase-out virgin leather by the end of the year.
Progress In Parallel
CPHFW and Global Fashion Summit were formerly factions of the Danish Fashion Institute. When the first Summit (then, Copenhagen Fashion Summit) was held in connection with the UN Climate Change Conference COP15 in 2009, sustainability was still a rather new phenomenon in the fashion industry and often viewed as a philanthropic endeavour. Through years of inspiring and mobilising leaders, sustainability was placed firmly on the fashion agenda. In 2018, Danish Fashion institute was renamed ‘Global Fashion Agenda’ to focus exclusively on sustainability and CPHFW became an independent company. Both organisations have continued to prosper in parallel based on this strong sustainability ethos, and GFA proudly supports the continued advancements that CPHFW has made.
Inspiring Action Worldwide
Fashion shows hold deep, cultural significance, communicating innovative concepts in unique ways. Contentious as they can be, their impact is minimal in comparison to that of broader fashion production. Why not harness this influence and make the next runway moment one with sustainability for people and planet at the forefront? And most importantly, beyond the fleeting escapades of the runway, let’s work to ensure that social and environmental justice are prioritised behind the scenes too.
This industry relies on case studies to showcase that responsible fashion is achievable without compromising on creativity. We hope that the actions of this influential Scandinavian country will reverberate, inspiring similar approaches worldwide. Raising awareness and presenting creative vanguards must prompt and galvanize people to develop cutting-edge solutions. Let Copenhagen be a role model and blueprint for future fashion weeks, the brands involved and citizens.
Today ‘sustainable’ practices are being adopted at every level of the fashion industry’s value chain, but what actions are being taken to improve practices related to fashion shows?
What was once a spectacle defined by countless international flights, a myriad of different fashions for street style snaps, extravagant single-use runway sets, and events which at the core centred around commerce and consumerism, all came to a grounding halt last year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, with fresh perspectives and innovations, we shine a spotlight on the opportunities and measures being taken to prioritise sustainability and consider the digital legacy that may be left behind when we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last few years Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) has firmly cemented itself as a frontrunner for sustainability standards in fashion weeks, launching a SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN in 2020 and a follow-up ANNUAL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT status update for 2020. With these come all-encompassing goals such as a zero waste by 2022 plan, demands for social justice, as well the ambitious SETTING OF EIGHTEEN STANDARDS that those showcasing at CPHFW must comply with from 2023. Moreover, in partnership with Zalando, CPHFW present the ‘ZALANDO SUSTAINABILITY AWARD’. Measures such as this champion authentic claims from brands surrounding transparency and environmental impacts.
Elsewhere in Europe, some of the notorious “Big Four” fashion weeks have been pushing sustainability to the forefront. With all fashion weeks spotlighting a variety of up-and-coming sustainability focused designers, we are also seeing many classic brands shaking things up – take for example Coach combining pieces from its archives with a new collection and Gucci opting for two seasonless shows a year.
Paving the way for credible information regarding the true impact of these events, Paris Fashion Week recently announced plans to develop tools to measure the environmental, social and economic impacts of fashion shows, set to launch for the SS22 season this September.1
At Milan AW21 the project ‘DESIGNER FOR THE PLANET’ was developed to showcase independent designers with commitments towards the future of the industry.
Amidst London Fashion Week AW21 The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion, UAL launched FASHION VALUES, a free educational platform promoting sustainability within the fashion industry in partnership with Kering, Vogue Business and IBM.
Priya Ahluwalia of eponymous brand ‘Ahluwalia’ received the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in recognition of Ahluwalia’s work in “pioneering responsible sourcing and manufacturing techniques, while telling the stories of those who make her clothes and the communities she works with”.2 Learn more about Ahluwalia and her work in our CFS+ 2020 Designer Challenge HERE.
During LFW AW21 we also saw the launch of the first higher education DEGREE IN DIGITAL FASHION, indicative of the continuity of the digital elements many were forced to embrace in the past year at fashion weeks.
Steff Yotka for Vogue described ‘phytigal’ as that which is part IRL, part URL,3 and given the reach of online and social media, it makes logical sense that going forward shows are hybrid in nature – digital shows can be accessed millions.
Whilst many acknowledge that traditional physical fashion weeks are not only exclusive, but also, according to one report, contribute 241,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually,4 there is also the inescapable fact that the physicality of these creative crescendos holds a certain unique magic that goes amiss via the blue light of a screen. How then can we adapt and balance this conundrum?
Following COVID-19 it has been speculated that fashion weeks will never amass the same such crowds as they did pre-pandemic, and could this return to intimacy be part of the equation for sustainable fashion weeks? The solution seems to lie in meaningful and intimate shows that expertly execute the delicate balance between digital and physical. Not only might this be better for the planet but also, according to the BFC and CFDA, better for the wellbeing of those regularly flying to attend these physical events in often far-flung locations.5
Designers are already conjuring up unique and exciting ways to present digitally with everything from Balenciaga’s video game to Loewe’s show in a box, the opportunities are endless.
However, digitalisation isn’t a fail-safe answer. The often-invisible infrastructure of the communications and technology sector is responsible for two percent of global GHG emissions.6 So, going forward places must seek to balance the carbon footprint of both physical and digital events and preserve these powerful mediums to communicate about sustainability.
Fashion shows historically have immense cultural significance, transmitting new ideas in unique ways. As these events are beginning to reflect the important shift towards sustainable fashion, it is critical to recognise that we can’t simply dismiss Fashion Week, but rather we must reinvent it and harness its influence for good. There is no better platform for an open dialogue about the trajectory the industry must be on as these spectacles attract masses of people globally. Fashion Week is a creative outlet in which we can shape the future of fashion. Raising awareness and presenting highly creative people with the task at hand will prompt and galvanize people to come up with cutting-edge solutions.
1. Guilbault L. Paris Fashion Week’s new plan to measure environmental impact. Vogue Business. 2021.
2. British Fashion Council. Priya Ahluwalia Receives the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. British Fashion Council. 2021.
3. Yotka S. Fashion Shows Are Dead, Long Live Fashion Shows! Vogue. 2021.
4. Odre. Zero to Market. 2021.
5. Dirvanauskas G. What is the future for fashion weeks? Drapers. 2021.
6. Chan E. Are Digital Fashion Weeks Really More Sustainable? British Vogue. 2021.
What was once synonymous with luxury fashion, the industry is increasingly moving away from fur, as it reckons with both the ethical and environmental implications of the material.
The anti-fur movement has long since been established (cast your mind back to the Peta campaigns of the 1990s which enlisted stars such as Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington declaring they would “rather go naked than wear fur.”), and companies are increasingly following suit by pledging to rid themselves of fur entirely. Consistent with an overall shift in the fashion sector and a growing commitment landscape from brands, in September of this year, Global Fashion Agenda’s Strategic Partner, Kering, announced that it was going completely fur-free.
Speaking to this decision, François-Henri Pinault, Chairman & CEO of Kering, shared: “For many years, Kering has sought to take the lead in sustainability, guided by a vision of luxury that is inseparable from the very highest environmental and social values and standards. When it comes to animal welfare, our Group has always demonstrated its willingness to improve practices within its own supply chain and the luxury sector in general. The time has now come to take a further step forward by ending the use of fur in all our collections. The world has changed, along with our clients, and luxury naturally needs to adapt to that.”
Following on from Gucci declaring fur to be “outdated” in 2017, all the Group’s Houses, notably Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Brioni and Saint Laurent, have progressively decided to take this step.
Kering’s move away from fur is indicative of the industry’s evolving stance on the material and is in line with other high-end fashion houses and retailers such as Prada, Michael Kors, Versace, Canada Goose, Mytheresa, Yoox Net-A-Porter, Burberry and Chanel who have committed to going fur-free in recent years. Earlier adopters of the fur-free commitments include Calvin Klein in 1994, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger in 2007, and Armani in 2016.
The decision to eliminate fur is not only reserved for brands. Just this month it was announced that fashion magazine ELLE will no longer promote fur in any of its 45 international titles – be that in editorial content or adverts. Government action has seen fur bans in Israel (with exceptions for religious observances) and California, as well as talk of similar decisions in the United Kingdom. The Netherlands banned mink fur farming in 2013 and instances such as Denmark’s mink cull last year as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks on farms put fur firmly in the spotlight for revaluation. As a result, Kopenhagen Fur, the largest fur auction house in the world, declared plans to shut down by 2023. In line with growing concerns, animal welfare standards are becoming increasingly prominent, including International Wool Textile Organisation Guidelines for Wool Sheep Welfare, Textile Exchange’s Responsible Leather, Wool, Down, Mohair, and Alpaca Standards, and Kering’s Animal Welfare Standards.1 Read more about Kering’s Animal Welfare Standards here.)
With this shift comes a significant opportunity for innovative material alternatives as brands carve out their fur-free futures. Faux fur is not a failsafe in terms of sustainability, so brands must seek out alternatives that do not compromise on environmental or social costs. Material Innovation Initiative’s latest Next-Gen Materials report, indicates that consumers are ready to support this change but there is currently not enough supply to meet the specific criteria required by the industry. Thus, major investment is needed to scale technologies and test materials. The emerging market for next-gen materials is promising, with $1.29 billion invested in this area of the industry between 2015 and 2021 and this investment reaching new heights in 2020.1 We have already witnessed a similar trend correlation in the food industry – the past two decades have exposed growing concern for animal welfare, resulting in a rapid movement towards meatless alternatives, this has significant potential to be realised in the fashion industry too.
You can explore a range of pioneering new materials on our Innovation Forum.
1. Material Innovation Initiative (2021). State of The Industry Report, Next-Gen Materials.
Tommy Hilfiger has revealed the six finalists for this year’s edition of the
Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge
Launched in 2018, the Challenge is an annual programme established to seek out and accelerate the work of the world’s most innovative and impactful fashion startups. Building on Tommy Hilfiger’s sustainability vision to Waste Nothing and Welcome All, this year’s program strives to amplify and support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) entrepreneurs who are working to advance their communities and foster a more inclusive future of fashion.
Over a multi-stage process, applicants have been narrowed down to six finalists who were invited to develop their projects virtually with the support of Tommy Hilfiger and external subject-specific experts. The finalists will present their concepts at the global Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge final event which will be held in January 2022.
The six finalists for the third edition of the programme are: Clothes to Good, a textile recycling and disability empowerment organisation based in South Africa; Haelixa, a product traceability technology based in Switzerland targeting challenges related to proof of product origin, authenticity and sustainability claims, and also a member of Global Fashion Agenda’s Innovation Forum; MAFI MAFI, an Ethiopian based sustainable fashion brand, acclaimed for its preservation of ancient Ethiopian traditions and its empowerment of marginalised artisan weavers; Lalaland, a platform generating customised and inclusive fashion models for e-commerce brands based in the Netherlands; SOKO, a women-led, Kenya-based, people-first ethical jewellery brand and tech-powered manufacturing platform built to connect marginalised artisans in Kenya with the global market, and UZURI K&Y, a sustainable shoe brand utilising recycled car tyres from sub-Saharan Africa, based in Rwanda and employing local youth.
Winners are offered mentoring and financial support to expedite their progress in transforming the industry. A prestigious jury panel – including Mr. Tommy Hilfiger – will select two winners to split the prize fund of €200,000. An additional €15,000 will be awarded to the finalist who wins the “Audience Favorite Vote.” Plus, the winners will receive a year-long mentorship with Tommy Hilfiger and INSEAD experts, as well as a place on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program (ISEP).
The jurors this year are: Tommy Hilfiger; Martijn Hagman, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europe; Yara Shahidi, award-winning Actress, Producer & Change Agent; Esther Verburg, Executive Vice President, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europe; Adrian Johnson, Entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Technology and Media, INSEAD; Katrin Ley, Managing Director, Fashion for Good & Founding Curator, Amsterdam Global Shapers Hub, and Yvonne Bajela, Founding Member & Principal, Impact X Capital.
Past winners include Selina Wamucii, a mobile platform connecting smallholder farmers in Africa to global distributors; doctHERs, which digitally connects Pakistan’s female doctors with the factory workers who need them; and Auf Augenhoehe, a fashion label developing styles for people affected by dwarfism. Winners of the second edition include Apon Wellbeing, a Bangladesh scale-up that improves the life of factory workers through affordable health insurance; A Beautiful Mess, a Dutch makers space that assists refugees to realise social and economic independence; and SUDARA an India- United States scale-up that produces pyjamas and loungewear meanwhile developing professional skills in women who have escaped or are at high risk of being sex trafficked.
Read more about the Challenge here.
Tommy Hilfiger is part of PVH Corp. – one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Strategic Partners. Find out more about our partners HERE.
The fashion industry is operating at the expense of our planet and the communities that occupy it – with many companies prioritising profitability and convenience over quality and ethics. In the last 15 years, clothing production has approximately doubled yet clothing use has declined by nearly 40%.1 Whilst the industry grapples with the need to slow production rates and citizens reconsider such unabating consumption levels, it is crucial that the clothing which is produced is done so as responsibly as possible. Fashion design is due a total rethink. We need to incentivise practices that are less extractive, in line with circular thinking and respectful of the communities they impact.
Our INNOVATION FORUM, showcases a broad range of solution providers that are paving the way for industry-wide transformation by encouraging responsible design. Below we outline just some of these innovators.
Higg is a sustainability insights platform for consumer goods businesses – delivering software and services for measuring, managing, and sharing supply chain performance data. From materials to products, from facilities to stores, from emissions to working conditions, Higg unlocks a complete view of a business’s social and environmental impact. Higg data can provide invaluable insights during the design process.
Eastman Naia™ is made with sustainably sourced wood, where cellulosic fibre brings the richness of nature to fabrics. Its filament yarn transforms into luxurious, soft, and easy-to-care-for fabrics, while its staple fibre creates eco-conscious blends that are quick-drying and consistently reduce pilling, giving designers more freedom and choice. Naia™ brings nature to fashion with sustainably managed resources; high safety, social, and environmental standards; and a low environmental impact.
MycoWorks developed Fine Mycelium, a proprietary biotechnology that harnesses mycelium to grow a made-to-order natural material that offers the performance of the finest animal leather with lower environmental impact. Recognised globally as a breakthrough in materials science, Fine Mycelium’s durability, customizability and aesthetic features unlock new design possibilities. The customisable, durable material evokes the same quality and emotional response as the world’s finest heritage animal leathers.
PANGAIA is a materials science company on a mission to save our environment. Whilst PANGAIA is a direct-to-consumer brand, it also functions as a B2B company, bringing breakthrough textile innovations and patents into the world, by distributing to brands.
PANGAIA pioneer breakthrough technology like FRUTFIBER™ which repurposes food waste such as banana leaf fibre, pineapple leaf fibre and bamboo into a new, innovative fabric and PLNTFIBER™ which uses renewable, fast-growing plants such as Himalayan nettle, bamboo, eucalyptus and seaweed.
Haelixa has developed an innovative technology to mark, trace and authenticate products from source to retail using a DNA marker. It addresses three key challenges of today’s fashion industry: the need for transparent supply chains, the ability to prove product origin and to support sustainability claims. Its DNA marker creates a unique fingerprint to identify a brand, a supplier or even production lot. The data is highly reliable, because each marker is unique and the info about the origin and journey is safely embedded into the product all time. Offering reliable and genuine material information can incentivise brands to adopt more sustainable materials, starting at the product design phase.
IndiDye® Natural Color Company provides an eco-friendly fibre-dyeing solution based entirely on natural dyes and auxiliaries. The dyeing technology combines high colour fastness with very low water consumption. IndiDye® is applicable to natural, cellulosic and synthetic fibres.
SENSE – IMMATERIAL REALITY exist to support the digital transformation journey through innovative technologies. Among its offerings is Sense Fabric – highly photorealistic and detailed 3D models of fabrics, reproducing all of the features of the real product. This customised solution means that all products in a collection can be viewed in Immaterial Reality – like having a sample in your hands only without the production. This way, products can be designed as efficiently as possible after virtual sampling to ensure minimal waste.
Browse the INNOVATION FORUM to explore the full array of solution providers.
1. Ellen MacArthur. Fashion and the circular economy.
Copenhagen is home to some of the most inspired and coveted brands of the moment. Beyond showcasing Scandi clothing aesthetics, Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) has firmly cemented itself as a sustainability frontrunner. Relative to other fashion weeks, it is renowned for subverting the status quo and acting as a bellwether for the broader industry.
CPHFW fosters creativity and incentivises responsible design by rewarding brands for their commitments to sustainability. Below we explore some of the key ways in which it achieves this.
CPHFW is distinguished by its extensive sustainability strategy. Ahead of the AW22 edition, its latest annual Sustainability Report was released. The report outlines progress made in 2021, while reflecting upon the targets set out in the 2020- 2022 Action Plan, and how these have been executed so far. The resounding message of the report is that CPHFW is well on track to deliver on most targets set, and in fact exceeding in many areas – only one target was not met.
In the Report, CPHFW indicated that ‘Hospitality’ remains a challenge. Hospitality-related emissions increased by 7.3 metric tons in 2021. In order to ensure its sustainability efforts are recognised globally, they believe it remains necessary to maintain the number of international guests. To tackle the accompanying emissions from flights, CPHFW will take this challenge into consideration when setting targets for 2023-2025 as they deem previous ambitions in this area have proven “too optimistic”. They incentivise people to travel via train where possible and for AW22 a carbon offsetting fee for brands was introduced. Carbon offsetting will be mandatory for brands showcasing from 2023.
Among the most impressive initiatives from CPHFW, is the extensive list of eighteen minimum Sustainability Requirements with which brands must comply from 2023 – the new international partnerships in line with this were announced in the report.
Significantly, the requirements were selected by government-funded programme Fremtidens Tekstiler as the framework to train 50 SMEs in the Danish industry to lead to further action.
The requirements will now be implemented across brands involved at Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF), Norwegian Fashion Hub, Oslo Runway and the Icelandic Fashion Council. As a result, from 2023, around 1,600 brands will comply with these all-encompassing standards such as utilising upcycled or recycled textiles in all collections, using zero-waste show sets, not destroying unsold garments and using at least 50% organic materials.
Looking ahead, CPHFW aims to introduce new targets and refine its strategy for 2023 – 2025, whilst continuing to pursue new international partnerships. This will ensure that the benefits of such a comprehensive strategy are echoed globally.
Aside from championing circular fashion via the brands showcasing, CPHFW hosted the talk ‘What role can circularity play in solving sustainability challenges.’
Our Impact Programme Manager, Sandra Gonza, moderated the discussion between Emily Chan, Sustainability Editor, Vogue, Lauren Bartley, Head of Responsibility, GANNI and Laura Coppen, Head of Circularity, Zalando.
Gonza opened with the question: “Everybody seems to be talking about the circular economy, but what does it really imply for fashion and how can we actually use it to create meaningful change within the industry?”
The conversation touched on the fact that there is a long way to go in achieving a circular fashion model, the necessity to reflect upon the social aspects of a circular economy and the responsibility brands have, to consider the entire lifecycle of products.
Hear insights from the panellists and watch the discussion here.
Zalando Sustainability Award
The annual Sustainability Award, presented by our Associate Partner, Zalando, provides both encouragement and recognition for brands exploring more sustainable avenues in their work. This year, Tobias Birk Nielsen’s label, Iso.Poetism, was awarded for its collection ‘The Echoes Which We Remain’ which focused on upcycled and recycled fibres and a low water use dyeing technique. The brand will subsequently receive €20,000 and the opportunity to collaborate on an exclusive collection with Zalando – leveraging sustainable materials, production and distribution methods.