Copenhagen Fashion Summit : Does it really help push the change?

Copenhagen Fashion Summit : Does it really help push the change?

{ Enjoyed being able to watch the Copenhagen Fashion Summit discussions and talks from the comfort of my bed while knitting and sipping on tea – very fashionable }

I was pretty excited when I realised I’d be able to watch the Copenhagen Fashion Summit on livestream when it took place a couple of weeks ago – simply because I hate missing out of what seems to be the event of the year in the eco fashion community. It might just be because I’m Danish or because I’ve attended the previous two years, that it feels like it’s a big deal. Like it’s an event that drives the change. But is it really? Granted it has sparked conversations and the fashion media do follow up on it with articles leading up to the Summit and after. It’s put Copenhagen in particular and Denmark in general on the map as a city and country that cares about sustainability. And while we are ahead when it comes to green energy and organic food. I’m not so sure we are anywhere near the top when it comes to fashion. Smaller companies are taking steps towards a greener profile, but the bigger ones are lacking behind.

Additionally, the conference seems to be more about gathering the big players in the industry. And to be frank the last two I’ve attended it has felt more like it was about back-patting and high-fiving each other than discussing actual solutions. This year I sensed a slight change. It was still mainly for the big corporations that could afford the (ridiculously high) ticket price, but I loved that there where at least a few participants (other than Livia Firth) that didn’t just tell how well the industry is doing, but actually pointed out what is lacking and who’s responsible.

My favourites were:

  1. Eileen Fisher, asking and encouraging everyone to collaborate more. According to her, change will only happen through collaborations and knowledge sharing and I couldn’t agree more.
  2. Jessica Simor, a lawyer looking into minimum wages versus living wages. According to her a minimum wage should always be a living wage – one that you can actually live off. She went on to say that changing the industry is a choice and big companies need to make it now. Watch the panel discussion here.
  3. Kirsten Brodde from Green Peace followed suit by also putting focus on the responsibilities of big companies. According to her, the big companies shouldn’t wait for the consumers to start asking for the change – because the big companies are the ones that made it normal for consumers to buy fashion at a very low price. They changed the industry in the first place, thus they need to take on the responsibility and work towards changing it back.

I’m still not sure the Fashion Summit is all it’s cracked up to be, but at least this year, it actually felt like the people on stage dared to have serious conversations about what’s still needed to change the industry.


Also worth a watch are William McDonouhg talking about Cradle to Cradle and the discussion with Ellen MacArthur and Wendy Schmidt. Read more about the Copenhagen Fashion Summit here

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