Just two weeks ago, GOOD KRAMA’s Sustainable Development intern Jana had the honor to be invited to the Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen and to participate in its umbrella event, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion with a focus on bringing fashion industry leaders, government agents and private sector specialists together to brainstorm on solutions to current issues in the fashion supply chain. The Youth Fashion Summit takes place three days prior and gives 112 students from all over the world a voice and platform to disrupt current industry standards and push forward ideas for change.
The foundation of this annual summit is to address United Nations Global Sustainability Goals which are aimed to be reached by 2030. This year, the Youth Fashion Summit focused on SDG 3: “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and SDG 5:”to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. In 3 days, the students brainstorm, discuss and form demands to the industry for them to implement change and reach those goals.
Here’s a breakdown of my week in Copenhagen. On the first day, I finally get to meet the 111 other students from all over the world at the Design School KEA - we’re all very honored and excited to be there. Divided in groups of fourteen to which each is devoted to one of the focus Sustainable Development Goals, we dive straight into brainstorming. You can imagine that this is absolutely brain draining, but in the most positive way. Getting input from different points of view broadened my horizon more than ever and allowed me to realize that we need to look at sustainability from a more holistic point of view. This can become overwhelming very quickly, so much needs to be done! Thankfully, Ricardo Garay - one of our mentors and former participant of the YFS - advises us to “personally look through all SDGs, choose the one you feel most connected to and then devote your life and your career towards reaching that”. In order to do so it is important to imagine a future in which all goals are reached and determine the possibilities and challenges that have to be overcome in order to get there. Thanks, Ricardo!
We then create demands for the industry leaders describing what we expect from them for a fairer fashion industry. For instance, we demanded that “CEOs prioritize gender equality in all business operations by putting people before profit and combining technology and education to empower women”.
Within the opening speech on the second day of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit held by members of the Youth Fashion Summit, those demands were integrated to create the much needed atmosphere for change. All of our demands were also displayed in visuals within the venue.
During the CFS, different presentations and panel discussions took place featuring many of the big players who already have the power to make a big impact. Eric Sprunk, the COO of Nike, talked about the possibilities to power and protect the future of sports. He made an important remark stating that weather changes and extreme natural events due to climate change already have affected our abilities to play and perform in outdoor sports. Paul Dillinger, the vice president and head of global product innovation of Levi Strauss even posed a bold question: “why produce ten pieces when only four are sold”?
Another very interesting conversation on stage took place with Stella McCartney who talked about her 21st Century fashion company, a frontrunner in sustainability. Open and honest she addressed the other CEOs in the front rows and demanded help. “We have to have that conversation because I cannot do it all alone” she requested from her peers.
There was not only room for the CEOs of big fashion companies to make their statements but innovative start-ups also had a voice. The company ColorZen® made it through the pitch-rounds onto the main stage. This company has developed an innovative way of dyeing cotton which requires 90% less water, 75% less energy and 95% less toxic chemicals.
Looking back at that intense week, it was great to be part of such an enthusiastic and creative group that is so passionate for making a change. Participating in the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, listening to all the speakers discuss different topics and solutions within the supply chain was very informative and often times inspiring. However, it must be said that all this talking needs to be followed by concrete plans and actions. As a member of The Youth Fashion Summit’s two-years event, we will all be back in Copenhagen in May 2019 and demand updates and progress in these actions for change as we, the future of fashion, are ready to dive in and work for a better industry.
Find all the latest videos of this event here. Want to know more? Leave your questions in the comment section below!