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.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)