Fashion industry has grown and changed so much in the past decade. With every growth, there are impacts, both good and bad. Behind every fast or slow fashion, there are so many processes behind the scene that is lesser known, or even not known by general public. Out of so many issues we face, sustainability has become one of the most talked-about issue. The way we consume and produce fashion has to be changed. But how? What can we do to make a change or raise the awareness?

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Earlier in May, the world’s leading annual event on sustainability, Copenhagen Fashion Summit,  once again made a step closer to changing the industry. Key players in fashion industry from all over the world joined forces, by the end of the day,  global leaders like Inditex, H&M, Adidas, Kering, M&S and Bestseller had signed a commitment to accelerate a circular business model.

Held at the concert hall in Copenhagen, the Call to Action for a Circular Fashion System was the main theme of this year’s summit agenda, with the aim to increase the volume of textiles collected, reused and recycled by 2020. ” I take this as a clear sign that the industry is not only aware of the need to change and the need to strive towards a closed loop system, but also ready to act.” Says Eva Kruse, CEO of Global Fashion Agenda on how pleased she is to learn about some key global leaders’ commitment. She also put Danish fashion on the political agenda and on the global fashion map with her work with sustainability and Copenhagen Fashion Week.

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Ahead of the Summit, Global Fashion Agenda, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, published a groundbreaking in-depth assessment of the fashion industry’s environmental and social performance – the first edition of the Pulse of the Fashion Industry report. The 139-page report shows that the industry’s sustainability pulse is weak – scoring only 32 out of 100 points, meaning there are lots of room for improvement.  Sustainability is a very complex issue, it can refer to so many different scale at different stage of the entire production chain and business. Surely it will take a long time to resolve some of the key issues and balance the system, but one step at a time will definitely get us closer.


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Proclaiming that “being less bad is not being good”, sustainability leader and co-founder of the Cradle-to-Cradle movement, William McDonough, kicked off the Summit’s nine-hour programme, which boasted more than 50 high level speakers, including Tiffany & Co. CEO Michael Kowalski, The New York Times chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, circular economy authority Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of Eco Age Ltd. Livia Firth, fashion designer Prabal Gurung, CEO and founder of Fashion Tech Lab & Buro 24/7 Miroslava Duma and Hugo Boss CEO Mark Langer.  Issues and discussions include how technology can continue shape the industry in an eco-friendly way, how influential companies can make their voice heard, how consumers can become aware of the issues and be involved etc. There was a lot to take in, and very inspirational insights and important key findings.


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Not only global key leaders and international journalists were among the discussion panel, speakers and guests, students from around the world had also presented a draft of the first ever UN proposal on fashion, to be presented in UN later this year in New York. It is so easy to talk and discuss, but what next? if nobody is taking any action nothing will be changed at all. Committed to take one step further, this summit, first held in Copenhagen in 2009,   has become an annual global now. Successfully raised the awareness on a global scale: from big corporations to small businesses; journalists to consumers, and lecturers to students. To close the intensive day, HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark showed support and delivered a closing speech.


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Now you may think what can you do to help even if you are not an influential global fashion company. Start with yourself. Look at your consumption pattern, increase the awareness of sustainability. Do you recycle a lot? Have you got any places near you that you can bring unused/ unwanted resources to recycle? Can you cut down the usage of washing, laundry, drying etc in some ways? Can you look for alternatives? Every little thing counts. That’s not just a commitment to the fashion industry, but to yourself and your future generations.