If you have never heard about Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2016, today will be the first day in the rest of your life. Before I get started, check it out here: Copenhagen Fashion Summit. As HRH Princess Mary of Denmark said, it’s the “Davos for fashion.” Cool.
It’s the no. 1 event in the world about fashion and sustainability. Not no. 2 and not no. 3, but number freaking 1. I’m not saying this to brag, and eventually it doesn’t really matter, but what matters is that there was such a string of exceptional speakers and such a good energy – all rounded up by brilliant and visionary Eva Kruse, who spoke about creating a movement. The reason this is of huge importance is because the fashion industry is the second most polluting business in the world, only surpassed by the oil industry. And it matters, as no one speaks about it – at least not in fashion – as it doesn’t go very well with the whole ‘selling a dream’ and ‘expressing your personality’ which are without any doubt more fun and sexy. But, as the ocean is practically dying, and our children wont be having fresh fish due to polluting colorants, micro plastics etc. – if any fish at all – we don’t have a choice than doing something about it.
It wont be a case of buying organic cotton and recycling your clothes, even if that’s a really good and admirable start – it will be the case of changing our mind set and completely reinventing fashion. It will also be a case of doing it today rather then tomorrow.
Fast fashion is doing as many as 52 collections a year, (Miroslava Duma kindly reminded us), and I don’t think, I’m the only one feeling that I’m drowning in stuff. It has just become too much, and if it wasn’t because, we’re using 150% of the world’s resources, we would have time to sit down and rethink things through. But, we’re in the survival zone, and need to be creative now. So let’s imagine a future that’s different to the one, we have today.
Fashion is an art form, and though it’s a commercial one and big business, is still a form of expression, both by the designer and by the consumer. If we take a look at the art scene, it’s cool to buy something special, unique and buy long term. This would not be so hard to apply to the world of fashion, and over consumerism could be turned into a ‘less-is-more’ attitude to buying and dressing. Wearing something that’s, God forbid, 5 years old could be a sign of quality and strong sense for fashion rather than not having enough money. A bit like how we consume high-end accessories. ‘Normcore’ has already made the whole IT girl-blogger mania of always wearing new stuff seem… well, old-fashioned. Back with the person as the most important things.
The latest collections from the fashion weeks also showed a rather styling approach to fashion replacing elaborate and high-end garments. Most brands, perhaps except from Balmain, did a relatively normal total look, and it looked vibrant and fresh. All is fuelled by what is happening at Vetements and Balenciaga, and Demna Gvasalia’s approach to evaluating each garment, and if it really has a right to exist, is something that also consumers should do to a bigger extant.
Because, at the end of the day, the desire to change things around has to come also from the consumers. There can be visionary creative working hard to change the world and proposing a different type of brand with ethics and limited editions or what may seem right and strategic, but ultimately the choice of what will be available on the market will come from the buying power, the money. And this doesn’t only go in fashion but in everything. When we buy something, peaches in hard plastic or a cute Zara top, we make a choice. A lot of the times, we make it unconsciously, and it’s based on need vs. expense. To that equation, we have to add consequence and responsibility. That sounds very grown-up and indeed it is, but there’s nothing bad, boring or wrong in that. Even Peter Pan, the forever-young, wants a Wonderland with fresh fish, funny giraffes and the exotic banana.
Denmark was proud to host Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2016, and this makes me very proud of being Danish. Sustainability is no longer the boring sister in fashion, it’s the new ray of light. Eva Kruse, let us know, how we at The Fashion Crowd can help out and together create a strong movement.