H&M Karl-Johan Persson

Copenhagen Fashion Summit has revealed H&M’s chief executive officer Karl-Johan Persson as a speaker for the upcoming Copenhagen Fashion Summit, billed as “Redesigning Growth.” The event is produced by the nonprofit Global Fashion Agenda.

Last May, the two-day Copenhagen Fashion Summit saw 1,300 attendees. Speakers were from brands such as Nike, PVH Corp. and Adidas, and included individuals like the vocal London-based designer and first proponent for the political (organic cotton) T-shirt, Katharine Hamnett.

Persson will be joined in conversation by Vanessa Friedman, fashion director of The New York Times, to address how “high-street brands can rethink the current fashion business model.”

Eva Kruse, chief executive officer of Global Fashion Agenda, organizer of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, expressed her enthusiasm in a statement: “I’m thrilled that Karl-Johan Persson will be joining us at the 2020 Summit, which will delve into the theme Redesigning Growth. A vast amount of people are unable to afford luxury fashion, so finding solutions to produce sustainable fashion for the masses is crucial.”

She added that the group “has been spearheading sustainability in fashion for more than a decade,” and due to its global recognition (ranking in the top global apparel manufacturers and retailers by revenue), the company will play a “huge role” on the pathway toward a sustainable business model that accounts for people, planet and profit.

H&M Group has been investing heavily in sustainability. Whether delivering by bicycle in some regions, trialing clothing rentals, designing with more sustainable materials in its Conscious collection or adding a “transparency layer” across all its product pages online with the information also available to consumers in-store via the H&M app — the fast-fashion group aims to further bolster its footing in a changing consumer environment, recently rocked by the increased demand for secondhand clothing.

In spite of such efforts, fashion retailers and brands can’t seem to catch a break. As WWD reported in December, a knitwear supplier to H&M and Next experienced a boiler explosion that killed one factory worker.

And in an October interview with Bloomberg, Persson sparked controversy among some sustainability advocates for his opinion that “consumer shaming” is what “will have terrible social consequences.” He suggested instead to focus on innovation as a solution forward in a climate cautionary world.

Equally fitting, innovations in the textiles, material sciences and recycling spaces are expected to be announced prior to the summit in the fashion futures tool guide and at the event’s Innovation Forum.

For More Sustainability News, See:

Copenhagen Summit Preaches Urgency for Fashion

Safety On the Line: H&M Responds to Bangladesh Garment Factory Boiler Explosion, What Lies Ahead

Copenhagen Fashion Week Turns Buzz Into Business

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