Sustainability Speed Dating at Copenhagen Fashion Summit

LONDON — The Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which took place last month, may be a distant memory for some, but not for the businesses that took part in the “speed-dating” sessions aimed at connecting solution providers with big businesses such as H&M Group, Stella McCartney and Asos.

Some companies said they found a match — or two — and have already advanced to the honeymoon stage, while others had a few dud dates, but remain hopeful nonetheless.

“It enabled a lot of conversations and as the event unfolded, our expectations were surpassed in the sense that major companies stopped by our booth,” said Diego Castro from Osom Brand, the parent of Osomtex, a supplier of repurposed yarns and fabrics.

The company has an ongoing relationship with Stella McCartney, and Castro said he’s “also had people from Nike, Salvatore Ferragamo, H&M Group, North Face and Asos speak with us. There is one major brand that we can’t disclose at the moment, but something big and interesting is on the way.”

He said he was happy that the summit was taking concrete action: “It’s not so much talk, talk, talk — instead they are finally putting some effort into really tackling sustainability issues.”

Some partnerships are still in their early stages, and businesses said they are hoping for the best. “The momentum is very positive. Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months we can see deals coming in,” said Ronen Luzon, founder and chief executive officer of MySize ID.

He was underwhelmed by the speed-dating experience. “Only the designated meetings we were appointed arrived, and even some of those missed it. We had to go upstairs to convince people to come to us,” he said, adding that his business can help retailers cut their return costs by about 50 percent using its sizing solutions.

Luzon said that, going forward, he is expecting to see more back-end support from summit organizers and hopes that more time will be allocated for roundtable talks rather than panel discussions.

Like Luzon’s MySize ID, other businesses are hoping that deals will emerge out of Copenhagen. ColorZen is one of them. It claims to save the manufacturer, brand and retailer a significant amount of money in dyeing cotton fabrics.

“We are able to save raw costs associated with dyeing, such as less water and much less energy and since we dye much later in the supply chain, that speed to market can eliminate markdowns and create less waste,” said Michael Harari, founder and president of ColorZen, a company that has reengineered cotton dyeing.

Harari also pointed out that ColorZen is scalable for large orders. “It’s available to market today, we have a factory that produces millions of pounds of this treatment at scale,” he added.

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