Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit

On the 9th of May, I met with 100 other international students at the Royal Danish Institute of Fine Art in Copenhagen to discuss the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN general assembly last year.
Our task; to create a manifesto, detailing our demands to the fashion industry related to each of the 17 SDGs to present at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit by the end of the week. After inspiring talks about sustainable leadership from Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia, Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute and Dilys Williams from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, we were divided in to groups to discuss our allocated SDGs. As part of the ‘Flourishing’ group, I worked with Goals 13, 14 and 15 regarding Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land. It was an ambitious task to integrate 3 such important goals  in to a single paragraph and we struggled to find a balance between specific criteria and overarching themes however the final result after two days of furious discussion, mind mapping and reflection was a success;

As inheritors of your roles, we demand that by 2030 fashion is no longer the second-largest polluting industry in the world.

You — global policy makers — must work together with NGOs, brands and corporations to create and implement legislation for no more land abuse. Invest in research and innovation.

It is vital that we take responsibility in restoring the air, water and land that we have altered.

Furthermore, we must create more opportunities for life. To let this world flourish, we must stop taking that which we cannot restore.

We are running out of resources.

H&M’s JustFashion Lab

Along with six other students selected from across the UK, I spent the week at Hay on Wye Festival discussing sustainable fashion with representatives from H&M, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and the Environmental Justice Foundation. We explored the possibilities of second hand clothing as a resource and looked into ways of making clothes last longer through clever transeasonal design and attention to detail and comfort.
H&M supplied items of used clothing from their garment collecting initiative; a scheme which encourages costumers to drop off unwanted garments to H&M stores in return for a money off voucher. We used this clothing as a starting point for new designs. Inspired by the idea of endurance, I created a transeasonal look consisting of a vest, blouse, a pair of trousers and a bag which could be worn together or separately depending on the weather. Made from a jumper, suit and pjama bottoms, I was keen to create a look that utilised all parts of the old garments I found in order ‘to close the loop’ on the use of these resources. After learning from Catarina Midby (H&M) about the difficulties of recycling mixed fibres I also decided to work only with garments made of pure fibres. In particular I selected garments made from natural fibres; wool, silk and cotton as the properties of these fibres make them particularly comfortable and hard wearing. See below for images of my work.
The week culiminated in a lively discussion between Catarina Midby from H&M, Orsola de Castro, Jessica Bumpus, Vogue and Margareta van den Bosch, chaired by CSF’s Dilys Williams at Hay Festival.

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