“We have to have this conversation and we have to be held accountable” – Stella McCartney

Starting off day 2 with some genuine and powerful messages from Youth Fashion Summit, thoughts about the fashion industry as a whole, the use of chemicals and water, human rights, equality in the industry and a call-to-action towards media as well as consumers. The united group representing this year’s Youth Summit also talked about the basics we sometimes take for granted – like breathing fresh air.

David Roberts, serial entrepreneur and thought leader, Singularity University spoke about the future of the industry and how it soon will become the number one global environmental issue on the agenda. This after oil who will eventually be run over by solar energy due to price performance calculations.

In order to change our behavior, we need to change our way of thinking. Roberts also pointed out the importance of taking action, not only as a joined force but for every single person to contribute in every way possible. For leaders to go against the stream and for individuals to make a change. Some of the most amazing and world-changing happenings all started with one person and one single action.

David Roberts

Eric Sprunk

Another front-runner in the industry working towards a circular fashion loop is Nike and Eric Sprunk (COO) joined the summit to talk about their inspiring work. Already back in the late 90’s when Nike faced some harsh critique, not working well enough to ensure their factories safety and well-being, Eric, and his team decided to make a change for Nike’s future. Most importantly since Nike work and collaborate as well as sponsor and support athletes around the globe. Without a healthy environment, there will be no such collaborations anymore, since these athletics depends on a well-functioning and healthy planet.

It all started with a new design and materials for one of their bestseller “air soles” which today is made of 50 % sustainable materials and one of Nike’s most sustainable product. It did cost Nike million of dollars to develop this new air sole but with new technology and determination, they did succeed.

By 2005 the goal was set to be 100 % transparent and by 2009 Nike had full control over their factories, in regards to the workers’ wellbeing and work conditions.

A new Nike goal set for 2025 is to only have renewable energy in their factories. It’s also crucial for Nike to make sure their materials are as sustainable as possible since 60 % of their environmental impact comes from their source of materials. Working with recycled materials is therefore key and today 75 % of Nikes products contain recycled materials in some way, and they tend to stay as leaders when it comes to the use of recycled polyester.

“Clothing should be safe, non-toxic, renewable and most of all, textiles should be kept in the system” Ellen MacArthur, who moderated The New Textile Economy panel discussion including H&M, Levi’s and The RealReal.

The topic of regenerating and recycling clothing, working with a single fabric strategy, high-quality products and making the use phase longer were on the agenda. The possibility to resell clothing and ways of maintaining textiles in a closed loop are key topics. A circular textile industry is a hard nut to crack since you need to have full control, in every step.

Even though H&M delivered great numbers in terms of future goals, I do think the industry is looking forward seeing how they will achieve these goals, one of them is being 100 % renewable. And how will H&M work to present collections by 2030 with products only made by sustainable or recycled materials?

Levi Strauss & Co vice president Paul Dillinger had some great remarks during the panel- that we need to look deeper into the production chains. It’s not enough to only work with organic cotton for example if it’s not in a high quality and long-lasting. You will instead have a larger effect on the environment by constantly buying new jeans or a new denim jacket (since it requires even more water and chemicals during yet another production). It’s also important to look at the different areas where you produce, which areas deliver the best materials and in which areas is it most eco-friendly to manufacture.

Stella McCartney with Graydon Carter

The highlight for anyone passionate about sustainable fashion was for sure the conversation between Stella McCartney and Graydon Carter. Simply hearing Stella’s journey as a designer and her honest opinions about the industry was inspiring enough.

This pioneer has definitely stood by her values from the start (turned down being designer for Gucci) by never making clothing with fur nor leather. She always thrived towards a fashion industry combing feminity, masculinity, empowering and gorgeous collections with as little harm to the environment as possible.

No PVC is used in Stella’s collections and Stella McCartney is the first fashion house only working with certified viscose textiles.

Stella also mentioned that regulations around the glove should be supportive of initiatives taken for a greener industry and that she as a designer many times have felt held back in her creativity mostly due to her different methods and high standards. Society needs to embrace circular fashion and help out!

Stella encourages everyone to make a change and to do their best, even smaller steps counts and we should all stop poking at each other for not doing “enough”.

After two inspiring days, it will be interesting to follow the journey within the field of sustainable fashion. How the pulse of the industry will change until next year and how each brand will commit.

All images via Copenhagen Fashion Summit 

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