Fashion Week Highlights – Sustainability Recap

New York, London, Milan, Paris - and Copenhagen. Everything about the Fashion Weeks and what the Big Four can learn from the CPHFW in terms of sustainability

Fashion Week
Source & Copyright by Copenhagen Fashion Week | Stine Goya, AW 22 Runway

Author: Julia Schindler

Fashion is experiencing its long-awaited revival. After the latest trends and design innovations could only be consumed in the domestic bubble due to the pandemic, the fashion capitals are pulsating again. Fashion Week is back. Not quite live, but at least hybrid. Now that the Copenhagen, New York and London fashion weeks are over, it's high time for a recap. And in particular because, in addition to the design-technical focus on Streetwear there is a change of mindset. Sustainability instead of mass, inclusion instead of exclusion.

Less fashion, more purpose

During the Fashion Weeks, the eyes of the fashion world are always on the organizing metropolis. With the increasing threat of Climate Crisis, growing mindfulness COVID-19 and a general shift to the New & Purposeful luxury, but draws more attention. For a long time, the fashion weeks have not only aroused the interest of the fashion bubble. Other economic branches, industries and groups are also observing the development of design trends. How so?

The fashion industry is one of the most consuming industries with the most devastating environmental impact. That the focus given recent climate policy developments lies on the fashion world, so it's no wonder. But the starting point of increasing demand and growing pressure on labels, ethisch and to act sustainably. Means: Fashion has long been more than a question of Designs. Fashion is a matter of social interest and high potentials to proactively reshape the future. And that is exactly what the organizers and participants of the Fashion Weeks achieve.

Copenhagen Fashion Week

Pioneers of this change: The Copenhagen Fashion Week. The Scandinavian fashion week is becoming increasingly relevant and determines New York, London, Paris and Milan the discourse of the fashion industry. This is due to up-and-coming labels like Ganni and Stine Goya, their bold vision and unparalleled commitment. Ready to wear instead Haute Couture, availability instead of exclusivity and a sense of responsibility instead of profit and prestige-driven opulence. Or in short: democratization, simplicity, Minimalism and Sustainability. And thus a symbol of the effortless elegance of Scandi chic, the spirit of the times and the consideration of the valuable Gen Z.

Fashion Week Ganni (1)

Source & Copyright by Copenhagen Fashion Week | Ganni, AW 22 Runway

From February 1st to 4th, the contemporary concept of the CPHFW could finally take place again in hybrid form. The strategy: A physical program with 21 live showcases combined with strong communication strategies such as digital screenings, events and premieres. While this dichotomy, the post-pandemic New Normal ushers in, the revival shows the Copenhagen fashion week consistently in one point: future-oriented thinking. In particular with regard to the three buzz topics of sustainability, Collaboration and digitization.

Sustainability @ CPHFW

One of CPHFW's most important commitments is the annual launch of the sustainability report. More precisely, this is a status update on the implementation of the goals of the CPHFW sustainability action plan. This is in line with the SDGs and is updated every three years. The balance: In addition to many positive advances, fashion week is working on implementing the goals of the 2022 action plan and is refining strategies for the agenda from 2023 to 2025 for even more sustainable development. Given the proliferation of Greenwashing in the fashion cosmos, this documentation and reporting of alleged commitments has become the must-do for credible brands.

Particular importance is attached to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the climate impact of the fashion event. The CPHFW has been working with the certified since 2019 climate protection providers Climaters together. Goal of the collaboration: The CO2 emissions of the Fashion Week reduce and compensate. And in all areas of event production. Whether it's an e-fleet, less merchandise, doing without elaborate stage sets and paper invitations, culinary offer for vegourmets or water stations for reusable bottles - The CPHFW goes even greener. And that this strategy is successful is shown by the successful emission reductions from 2020 to 2022.

fashion week stine goya (3)

Source & Copyright by Copenhagen Fashion Week | Stine Goya, AW 22 Runway

One of the driving forces behind this development is a fee for offsetting emissions. From January 2023, offsetting emissions will be a minimum standard to participate in CPHFW. Means: All brands must offset their emissions via an official climate partner. Design-sustainability balance mandatory. No wonder, then, that a statement against the plastic pain is set. After a cooperation with SmallRevolution, the labels already in 2021 when upcycling from Plastic waste support, the organizers have now banned single-use plastic such as hangers or garment bags behind the stage. The result: a drastic reduction in waste.

Collaboration @ CPHFW

Another buzz topic: collaboration. Fashion week introduced new initiatives and partnerships to implement the 2023 sustainability criteria and to increase the focus on social responsibility. The Big 4 collaborations include the Norwegian Fashion Hub, the Oslo Runway, the Icelandic Fashion Council and the CIFF (Copenhagen International Fashion Fair). In practical terms, these mergers mean that green commitments such as recycled and upcycled textiles, sustainable packaging and zero waste Stage designs will become the standard for around 2023 brands from 1.600.

According to official CPHFW announcements, the Scandinavian mergers mark milestones in the long-term change in the fashion industry. It is particularly important that the collaborations that support the projects of the sustainability requirements of the Agenda for 2023 to 2025 and inspire companies to their creative potential implemented within the framework of responsible business practices. The vision for the coming years also includes new international partnerships to establish change on a global scale.

fashion week samsoe

Source & Copyright by Copenhagen Fashion Week | Samsoe Samsoe AW 22 Runway

Particularly valuable collaboration for this project: CIFF x CPHFW. The Copenhagen International fashion Fair is the largest trade fair in Northern Europe and has become an important hotspot for the international fashion industry in recent years. As the most dynamic and innovative sales platform in Europe, it is characterized not only by unique curation and creative cooperation, but also in particular by discovering and promoting up-and-coming talent. The aim is to offer them a platform for international sales. And that's exactly why the center is trend-setting brands promising high potential for the international orientation of the CPHFW.

Digitization @ CPHFW

What is certain is that live shows are still crucial factors for the success of brand building for aspiring designers. However, they are through COVID-19 Recognized opportunities and the generally advancing digitization makes it clear that multimedia strategies in particular have great potential for success. Instagram, for example, is recognized as an important visual medium that can deliver live updates and impressions in a matter of seconds and on a global scale. However, the latest addition to Fashion Week's multi-channel mix is ​​also becoming increasingly relevant: Tik Tok.

During the CPHFW, the most popular Scandinavian Tik Tok celebrities shared their experiences and impressions of the collections, shows and events. And with the aim of making fashion accessible to a younger audience. In short: As an increasingly important medium of Gen Z and other younger generations, Tik Tok can break with old structures and create points of contact to democratize fashion weeks.

Fashion Week Tik Tok

Source & Copyright by Copenhagen Fashion Week | Tik Tok Talents

In contrast, there was less courage to make progress in this area Metaverse. Only a few brands dared to deal with the technical innovation and launched NFTs, VR applications, GAMES or other digital extensions of reality.

Sustainability and Inclusion: Trends from New York Fashion Week

The kick-off with the New York Fashion Week proved that the big fashion weeks are also changing. After the "Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act", or Fashion Act for short, was launched in January, sustainability and ethics more and more in the sights of the entire industry. The Act aims to legally oblige fashion brands to document their contribution to climate change and to provide evidence of their actions along the value chain. Extra plus point: The Fashion Act applies not only to New York-based brands, but to everyone who does business in the metropolis.

The new mindset was also reflected in the program for this year's New York Fashion Week. Up-and-coming designers such as Olivia Cheng and Emma Gage were able to present their sustainable collections for the first time at NYFW. The result: More attention to environmentally friendly design processes such as recycling. But also renowned powerhouses like Gabriela Hearst once again made environmentally friendly statements. In addition to sustainable practices such as death stock upcycling, their current collection stands out gender and Size inclusivity and support from those in need and the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusive highlight: Model Jillian Mercado made her runway debut for THE BLONDS, representing the underrepresented group of people with physical disabilities at this historic moment.

Talent Hub London Fashion Week

In a well-established sequence, London Fashion Week connects to New York and represents an unparalleled platform for young talents. As the university center of the fashion industry, London stands for innovation and experiments instead of expanding established fashion empires. And it was precisely this position that was even expanded this year. Due to the decision of well-known designers such as Vivienne Westwood or Burberry to concentrate on digital offers, for example from the Metaverse, the stage belonged to up-and-coming newcomers.

In line with the current zeitgeist, there was a special hype: fair fashion. The London Fashion Week discourse revolved around forward-thinking brands breaking with rigid structures Material innovations, new design processes and radical transparency establish as the status quo. Particularly valuable Brands to Watch: SOHUMAN, Bethany Williams and Ahluwalia.

What's next?

Both New York and London Fashion Week have proven that sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry. However, the commitment usually only shows in the cosmos of individual labels and in their promotion. What is also needed are holistic concepts along all event areas. Example: The Copenhagen Fashion Week. Means? While showcasing an expanding portfolio of sustainable brands is a positive step forward for fashion weeks, the underlying structure of the events also needs to change. Emissions, fleet, wastage of water and energy as well as waste are the challenging buzzwords here.

It remains exciting to see which sustainable or ethical commitments brands and organizers will present at the upcoming Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. What is certain is that the major fashion hubs must follow Copenhagen's holistic sustainability strategy as an example. In order to continue to meet the demands of the critical eyes of the (fashion) world in the future, but especially to proactively help shape a healthy future for the planet.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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