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Luxury Fashion at the Sustainability Crossroads

How our industry can change and become more of a leader towards a better future. Trend setting brands have begun the change but will all be able to implament its standards and make this dream becaome a reality.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit: Innovation and Change

To Sum up the article: - How to changes fashion carbon footprint - How to attract to knowledgable consumers, they are becoming more aware of ethical issues and more cautious - Brands begining to change to adapt to the new consumer - Evaluating creativity and Purpose, creativity in innovation and purpose being how companies connect to the world. - Sold out Copenhagen Summit based on sustainability and innovation.

The success of the sold-out Copenhagen Fashion Summit earlier this month, which focused on sustainability, also signaled this shift. With industry heavyweights in high attendance, the 1,250 delegates whispered that the event felt like the “Davos of fashion.�

The sold out Copenhagen Fashion Summit was all about responsible innovation. The fourth edition of the summit, that featured 1,250 delegates of idustry heavyweights, was strictly based on minimizing the carbon footprint left behind by fashion companies and to bring awareness to necessary change and innovation. Leaders from top fashion brands like Nike, Adidas, and H&M were in attendence and discussed the issues. Companies pointed out Wthat consumers are noticing are becoming more informed than ever, and increasingly allowing their purchases to be influenced by the social and environmental impact of products and where the come from.

The Fashion Revolution

Companies are working to improve supply chain transparency and accountability and to reduce manufacturing and retail footprints, from Gucci’s heavy-metal-free tanning process to LVMH’s internal carbon fund.

Leaders in transparence, purpose and creativity.

Established internal carbon fund to reduce emissions.

Recycling initative in place for undesired shoes.

Heavy metal free tanning process. Using fibers made from ocean plastic. Creativity

Kering’s Sustainable Future: What Drives us:

Global campaigns to encourage and empower women

Social awarness with AIDS fund and back to mac recycle program


“Consumers will buy more for what you stand for than what you make”

Leading the sustainability conversation at the summit, Adidas was able to show how they were putting their feet forward to accelerate sustainability in all of their product lines. Adidas’ global brands, shared that Adidas’ shoe line made with recycled ocean plastic had driven up the brand’s Net Promoter Score, which can be an indicator of market growth. Liedtke said that the ocean plastics issue proved even more effective than celebrity support to drive social media engagement among customers.

From threat to thread:

Creativity and Purpose The battle between these two concepts are reasones why some brands have found it difficult to implament more sustainable practices in their product lines



Creativity, which is at the heart of the luxury promise. Brands strive to surprise and delight customers, set the trends, and nurture art and design. But connecting designers to sustainability isn’t something that sustainability professionals or brand leaders have done well.

Purpose Purpose, which should be on the agenda of more luxury leaders. While brands in other consumer-facing industries, such as Dove, Nike, and MAC have enjoyed the commercial benefits of standing for something meaningful in the eyes of their customers, luxury brands have not yet embraced the benefits of authentic contributions to the wider good.

“Sustainable fashion is a destination, not a journey”


Greenwashing, is cleverly derived from “whitewashing” to describe a more modern concept: pretending to be more environmentally friendly than you actually are – hence the “green”.

"Everyone now says eco, they say environmentally friendly, sustainable, it's 'Made in the USA'... but it’s like peeling an onion, when you pull back one layer of skin there’s so many underneath,"

While H&M has acknowledged the change in this consumer behavior, it was at first critisied, however it has made it self more transparent and was awarded for is efforts in implamenting ways to track, trace and improve labor and environmental practices

The S Word

Vanessa Friedman, fashion director at the New York Times, put it best during her Copenhagen talk, “Sex and Sustainability,” telling luxury leaders that, if they want to market sustainability, they need to stop using the “s-word” and start framing it in ways people care about and can understand—such as through sex, love, food, and connection.

“In an age where growing inequalities undermine the social acceptance of luxury; where the profound human need for meaning, and not more things, is growing; and where digital worlds demand stories, connection, and transparency, it’s time for a brave new world of inclusive, not exclusive, luxury. This requires figuring out the unique contribution luxury companies are making to the world, and starting to talk about it more. Luxury brands are tastemakers and example-setters. We need them to lead the way, and reposition themselves for sustained growth by daring to go beyond business as usual”

Sources Dhillon, Kam. “What Should Fashion Students Know About Sustainability?” Essay | Feature | NOT JUST A LABEL. Not Just A Label, 4 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.

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