Global Fashion Summit 2023 turns ambition into action

Global Fashion Summit 2023 accelerates positive change in fashion through innovation and collaboration - collective, constructive & critical

Global Fashion Summit 2023
Source & Copyright by Global Fashion Summit

Author: House of Eden

The Global Fashion Summit was hosted by the Global Fashion Agenda in Copenhagen on June 27-28. As the leading international forum for industry collaboration and sustainability in fashion, the event served as a future platform for discussions, synergies and strategic planning between stakeholders. The motto: "Ambition to Action" for the transition to a positive fashion industry. In terms of social, ethical and ecological sustainability.

The focus of the discourse was the overarching goal of making real progress in a timely and concentrated manner. It was about stimulating ideas through exchange, making innovation accessible and promoting collaboration. After all, a systemic problem can only be solved collectively.

On the relevance of the Global Fashion Summit

The global apparel industry is a billion dollar market that is continuously growing, is responsible for around 4% of global CO2 emissions and employs more than 60 million people, 80% of whom are women, along the value chain. Combined with drastic social impacts within the supply chain, this business model simply cannot be reproduced anymore. It does not meet ethical social standards and feeds climate change instead of meeting sustainable development goals.

And that without being able to provide sufficient arguments for this way of business. In view of the socio-political development, modern purchasing behavior and values ​​of relevant consumers, especially in the luxury segment, profitability and sustainability are no longer contradictory. Rather, socially and ecologically responsible behavior is not just an opportunity, but actually a requirement for companies to remain future-proof and competitive.

"We can build a thriving industry that creates prosperity for people and communities, reverses climate change and protects biodiversity. For this to happen, we must act now." - Global Fashion Agenda 

Global Fashion Summit: Competence center for sustainability in fashion

The Global Fashion Summit, previously known as the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, has established itself as the hub for the most important environmental, social and ethical issues in fashion since its first edition in 2009. As a multi-stakeholder event, it brings together the world's leading industry representatives, decision-makers and thought leaders, but also relevant interest groups such as young designers, investors, politicians and NGOs.


Source & Copyright by Global Fashion Summit

The goal: to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable fashion industry through dynamic interaction, collaboration and knowledge transfer. Scaling change holistically simply requires the collaborative power of the entire industry and a leading center for cross-pollination and thought leadership. The Global Fashion Summit.

Ambition to Action: These forces can turn sustainable projects into action

This year's motto of the summit was an unmistakable appeal to translate sustainable projects into concrete measures and to close the gap between them. Ambition to action: ambition to act - or interpreted differently From ambition to action. Many program items therefore focused on tangible and verifiable effects of the industry and action-oriented case studies. The thematic focus was on political changes, the supply chain, management of textile waste, transparent communication and the role of innovative technologies. Data and storytelling also received attention as some of the most important forces shaping the fashion industry.

Overall, the Global Fashion Summit 2023 featured more speakers and content than ever before. In addition to ten strategic round tables, which promoted the productive dialogue between C-level and politics, discussions and presentations extended over four stages. "New Era Leaders", "Transforming The Fashion Sector With Nature" and "Redressed: Storytelling For Sustainability" were just a few of the inspiring, forward-looking topics.

Among the 137 speakers were Antoine Arnault (Image & Environment at LVMH Group), Jonathan Anderson (Creative Director & Founder of JW Anderson; Creative Director at Loewe), Nicolaj Reffstrup (Founder of Ganni) and Fanny Moizant (Co-Founder by Vestiaire Collective). But initiatives like the United Nations Environment Program and GFA's Next Gen Assembly also came together to encourage intergenerational dialogue and innovative thinking.

Collaboration and next-gen talent replace competitive thinking in fashion

At a penal talk, Antoine Arnault addressed the criticism of LVMH for not joining action alliances such as the Fashion Pact proposed by Kering CEO Pinault. The reason: The complexity of the luxury giant's portfolio and the participation of fast fashion companies in such sustainability initiatives. It is not the right thing to be associated with the actors of fast fashion.

Rather, it takes strong collaboration between leading luxury companies to achieve the industry's goals. "I think it's important that we bring together the leaders of this industry, the luxury industry, to work together," said Arnault. In this scenario, the competition becomes an alliance to establish new standards and find the right way of doing business.


Source & Copyright by Global Fashion Summit

Jonathan Anderson, founder and creative director of LVMH-owned label JW Anderson, also pointed out that the younger generation is setting the pace when it comes to sustainability in luxury fashion. While sustainability didn't play a role during his apprenticeship, today it is a central, almost self-evident aspect of the design process. This switch manifests itself in the work of up-and-coming designers. They would question more, innovate and experiment with production processes like upcycling. In contrast, he has to learn sustainable design now and in a backward-looking way.

Other panels to watch revolved around transparency in connection with consumer empowerment, green washing and hushing and textile waste as a future resource. In addition, the participants discussed digital tools to improve wage systems.

Global Fashion Summit presents unprecedented synergies

A promising synergy was announced on the first day of the summit: Ganni x Rubi Labs. Ganni is the first fashion retailer to test fabrics made with Rubi Labs technology. This is a yarn made from lyocell, obtained from carbon dioxide. Since this binds greenhouse gases, it revolutionizes the production of clothing. And leads to truly climate-neutral production without controversial compensation.

Innovation Stage_MOMENTS IN MATERIAL SCIENCE_GFS _CPH_2023137-min-3

Source & Copyright by Global Fashion Summit

Ganni founder Reffstrup described this collaboration as a natural extension of Ganni's carbon insetting strategy to reduce emissions in its own supply chain. In addition, this deep-tech solution can be scaled to cover the entire scope of the brand. The vision: create a waste-free pipeline from emission generation to raw material production. However, the first step is to test the fabrics extensively, mix them with industrial materials and ensure quality standards.

Innovation forum: platform and matchmaker for Trailblazer

But not only Rubi Laboratories, but more than 25 other Trailblazers enriched the Global Fashion Summit 2023. The GFA Innovation Forum presented a curated selection of the world's most promising sustainable solutions. And that along the entire value chain - from innovative materials to hybrid resale experiences to end-of-use solutions. With its matchmaking format, it brings these thought leaders together with fashion brands and retailers to connect relevant innovators with the broader fashion industry, nurturing new ideas and stimulating the market.

Antoine Arnault_GFS_CPH_2023337-3

Source & Copyright by Global Fashion Summit

Among this year's exhibitors:

    • Algaeing - Innovation that converts algae into bio-fibers and dyes to meet the growing market demand for sustainable products with detoxifying textiles
    • carbonfact - The only fashion-specific carbon management platform that helps brands create detailed life cycle assessments in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods
    • Threads - End-to-end platform that enables brands to radically redesign shoes without inventory or end-of-life waste by combining 3D printing and algorithmic design

Regulatory pressure should accelerate tangible results in fashion

New and worth mentioning: The role of politics in reshaping the sustainability course of the fashion industry. A potential reason for the precarious situation of the industry - despite awareness and innovative strength - is that it has long evaded any regulation. However, this age of under-regulation is now over, said EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in an interview at the Global Fashion Summit.

Last year, the EU published a strategy for sustainable textiles and a political roadmap on how products should be designed and marketed. Buzzwords that will dominate the next set of guidelines are durability, repairability, recycling and labeling requirements. The long-term goal: Abolish fast fashion.

Global Fashion Summit 2023: engine of change

The Global Fashion Summit 2023 created valuable synergies, enabled productive interaction and provided forward-looking insights. Innovation and collaboration are imperatives to steer the industry in a positive direction. And now - at the critical turning point that still allows us to shape the future in a resilient way. The increasing regulatory pressure can help to quickly mobilize this potential. However, it is an equally important and critical task to adequately translate the perspectives of different interest groups into implementable strategies and laws.


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