The Global Fashion Summit in June was incredibly inspiring; my time in Copenhagen reminded me of why I spend my time and energy working to reduce the impact of the global apparel industry. This trip was a great reminder that I get so much inspiration and energy whenever I get the chance to surround myself with people who are deeply committed, heart and soul, to creating a new and more sustainable future for our industry.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to attend an event of this size and caliber, and I was determined to get as much out of it as I could. As I flew into the city, I thought about how I’d know it had been a successful summit for me personally. I decided my primary goal was to connect, listen, and understand enough to get a clear sense of a single driving question: are we, as an industry, moving in the right direction?
The conversations that I had with the deeply committed, hardworking, and innovative professionals at the Global Fashion Summit made one thing clear to me: we are absolutely moving in the right direction. The conversation has seismically shifted, and we are no longer debating IF there is a problem with the industry.
The current state of business as usual in fashion does not work. From technology, to storytelling, to investment, to transparency, to business model dysfunction, to used clothing ending up in Africa, landfills, or incinerators. We have a massive problem set to contend with. We have thousands of global power players to coordinate. We also have a lack of collective leadership in this unchartered territory.
What frustrates me is that even though we are moving in the right direction (at least we agree on the problems!) there is a lack of urgency to deploy solutions. Fast Fashion is a massive threat; we are running out of clean air and water. It doesn’t matter if low-wage labor or low-price clothing can be made on demand. Without clean air and water this is irrelevant.
Allow me to bottom line this so it’s simple: we need to change our BEHAVIOR. This means YOU and ME. Since I’m not you, I’ll tell you what I’d like….
- I want to wear beautiful clothing made from people who put their heart and soul into their work, I’ll pay for that because I feel good wearing it and supporting businesses like this.
- I want to be able to pass down my clothing to the next generation.
- I want to be able to give things that break or wear down to someone who will re-wear or repair them for someone else.
- I want anything that cannot be resold to be broken down chemically, and the polymers redeployed to make another generation of high quality, beautiful clothing… and I want that the cycle to repeat itself infinitely.
The relentless pursuit to make this world a reality for everyday people is my day job and I hope to one day sit in a rocking chair on my porch, able to look back on where we started. I want to be able to say that we all pulled together to turn our industry around – and set up the next generation for the best possible future.