Obviously, there is still much room for improvements within the global fashion industry before we can call mainstream fashion anything close to sustainable and circular. Many large global brands are still pumping out clothes at high speeds, selling them at low prices, and in too poor quality for longer-term use. And the environment is still taking a hard toll, as do many workers and local communities. But, nevertheless, I do sense that there is a mind-shift happening right now.
Last week on April 3 (2019), I attended the Global Change Award Summit in Stockholm (organized by the H&M Foundation) along with hundreds of international professionals in the field of sustainable and circular fashion.
At the Summit, representatives of both small and big companies held presentations on key trends, innovations and challenges in the field. Two of the most notable speakers were William McDonough (Chief Executive of McDonough Innovation and Co-Founder of Fashion For Good) and Edwin Keh (CEO of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel). The welcoming address was held by Karl-Johan Persson and Diana Amini (both at H&M Foundation). (See images below).
On the positive side, several of the speakers addressed the need to cut down on global production and consumption rates. One speaker raised the need for “on-demand production” (which I’m a strong advocate of since many years), while another speaker underlined the importance of companies staying in integrity with their authentic values (of which I’m also a strong proponent). And, listening to William McDonough (who has been a key initiator and driver of the global Cradle2Cradle movement since its early days) is always inspirational and uplifting. So, at some level, things are apparently moving in the right direction – at least in terms of the dialogues among informed professionals and conscious brands. Yet there is of course still much room and great urgency for continued progress and real actions.
Today, the necessary tools, techniques and general awareness are essentially in place on most operative levels. What we need now is honest COMMITMENTS among the companies to be AUTHENTIC and stay in INTEGRITY and ALIGNMENT with their heart-felt VALUES, with CONSISTENCY and without COMPROMISES. I believe these large capital words will be the focus of upcoming seminars and conferences in the years to come.