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17th Aug 2023

Copenhagen Fashion Week is striving for sustainability in the industry

Fashion Week and sustainability usually don’t go hand-in-hand.

We’re used to seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of garments being created and then mass-produced.

Following Copenhagen Fashion Week in the Danish capital, fashion lovers were treated to an array of Scandinavian designs and impeccable street style but the main focus of the event was sustainability.

Of course, the clothing was in the spotlight but the brands that opted to go down the route of sustainability really made some noise.

“Copenhagen Fashion Week has been proactive in its commitment to sustainability and has implemented several initiatives to promote and accelerate sustainability in the fashion industry,” Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week, told Stylist.

“For brands on our official schedule, we introduced sustainability requirements that brands are expected to meet to be part of the event, covering areas such as material sourcing, production, design processes or working conditions, to name just a few.”

This year for Copenhagen Fashion Week, all shows that were scheduled had to conform to a set of minimum standards set by the fashion week’s governing body.

They needed to champion diversity and equality in each team, especially in management roles. As well as this, each design team needed to inform customers about the value of longevity and at least 50% each collection needed to be from certified, upcycled, recycled or sustainable materials.

Packaging at the events was not allowed to offer single-use plastic and each production was to be zero waste.

When added up, each of these creates a bigger push for a cleaner planet – but will other fashion weeks follow?

Helsinki and Oslo Fashion Weeks have already been implementing similar strategies but when it comes to the ‘big four’ – London, New York, Paris and Milan – it is a much slower process.

London, New York and Paris have no mention of sustainability initiatives on their website, with Milan being the only exception.

According to Bloomberg, the fashion industry accounts for up to 10% of global Co2 emissions. This is more than international flights and shipping combined.

“Prioritising sustainability in the fashion industry is important for numerous reasons, including reducing environmental impacts, addressing climate change or promoting ethical purchasing practices,” Thorsmark added.

She added that by producing clothing with a greater lifespan, the culture around fashion consumption will change and thus create a healthier relationship between fashion and the environment.