COPENHAGEN — Putting a human face on the real cost of cheap clothes is the fastest route to a more a sustainable industry, attendees at the third edition of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit were told here.
“If fast fashion didn’t exist, we wouldn’t need a summit in Copenhagen,” declared Livia Firth, creative director of Eco Age and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge.
Citing high-street retailers as key to cracking the sustainability conundrum, Firth berated them for a slovenly approach to basic human rights through the inhumane speed, bulk and price at which garments are produced. She challenged the industry to prove we can have “this big, cheap cake and eat it.”
Consumers have become adept at “[divorcing] the clothes we buy from the fact that living, breathing people make them,” meaning the key to change lies in “reconnection and recognition that the supply chain is comprised of real people,” she said.
Alan Roberts, executive director of international operations for the Bangladesh Accord, a legally binding commitment from 166 brands across 25 countries to inspect and improve safety standards in factories in Bangladesh, confirmed this need for humanization.
“By placing the workers on center stage, the root of the problem will be tackled,” he said.
Highlighting the role of transparency in solving the problems at hand, Roberts said the accord would make the “industry own up to its problems and commit to resolve them.”
Consumer-awareness tactics for conscious consumption are also considered key. Addressing delegates via a video message, Stella McCartney presented the “no-brainer” Clevercare.info, a labeling initiative driven by H&M, Stella McCartney and Ginetex and designed to educate consumers on responsible clothing care. “Clothes last longer if you wash them less and care for them more,” she said.
Meanwhile, the new online initiative “Restart Fashion: Five Easy Steps to Sustainability,” unveiled by summit host and cofounder of Human Needs Project, Connie Nielsen, provides designers with the resources to incite and commit to change through conscious decision-making in the design and production processes.
The initiative is backed by Not Just A Label and NICE (Nordic Initiative, Clean and Ethical) and will be rolled out to NJAL’s 15,000 emerging fashion collective and the global design community later this year.
Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability manager, said the industry’s unique position as trendsetters could drive and inspire change. Outlining Kering’s work towards greener packaging, stores and offices, Daveu said the group aims to become the world’s most sustainable luxury-goods conglomerate, and by 2016 hopes to sustainably source leather, wool, python, gold and diamonds.
With the pursuit of sustainability being not just a responsibility but also an opportunity, Daveu said, “There is no other option but to be responsible, accountable and ethical. And to become truly sustainable, we need to become entrepreneurs and innovators.”
H&M’s head of sustainability Helena Helmersson cited growing consumer demand for ethical fashion as a catalyst for change, and highlighted the retail giant’s green efforts through recycling programs. “Fashion is sustainable and sustainability is fashionable,” she said, adding that sustainability is the added value that makes a difference.
Speaking at the event, Jason Kibbey, executive director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, advocated the Higg Index, a global standard that holistically measures and manages all social and environmental impact areas of footwear and apparel, to provide a road map for collective improvement and an achievable common vision, raising consciousness through transparency. Though, he added, it is “folly to claim we know what it takes to fix sustainability. It’s an evolutionary process.”
Attended by more than 1,000 people, the event featured a sustainable fashion runway show.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)