Copenhagen Fashion Summit
I love fashion. I always have and I always will but for forever evolving reasons. When I was buying for Topshop, it was the one of the key leaders on the High Street. The global chains such as H&M and Zara were just blips on the UK’s fashion radar and I loved and lived the fast pace and the buzz of getting the fashion from my own inspirations, collaborations with suppliers and starting to work with the then-small design team, from that, just ideas, into fruition and into the stores. Seeing my products in-store, especially in the Topshop Oxford Circus Flagship, seeing people walking down the street, celebs in magazines or on TV wearing my “buys” was such a thrill.
After Topshop, being a Scout for the then 17th largest corporation in the US, Limited Brands, now L Brands was so exciting too. I was travelling endlessly from London, to Paris, to Milan and other wonderful places in search of the latest fashion, styles and designs that would inspire the design teams at Express, Limited Stores or Victoria’s Secret with their own creations and looks which would then be produced in major volumes.
More recently though I’ve got more of a love/hate relationship with the fashion industry going on. When I say more recently, it’s been boiling up over the last 3 years ever since the disaster at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh happened and 1 100 workers were killed. It was tragic. What else is tragic is that it appears that very little has evidently been done, in making the machinists lives any better, from their working conditions to their pay and their livelihoods beyond.
The fashion industry is one of the most powerful industries globally in terms of the millions of people that work in it. The fashion industry contributed £26 billion to the UK economy in 2014. However, it is also the second largest polluting industry globally too. This is why I have fallen out with the fashion industry, the water wastage from washing, rewashing and washing again denim with pollutant dyes in the manufacturing stage, the landfills of thrown away clothes that are endlessly building up, the cotton fields that have drained the soil and fields of nutrients and goodness and the use, still, of sweatshop labour – Beyonce and Topshop with your Ivy Park label you should know better.
However there is a positive side to this and that is that we can do something about it but we need to take action now. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2016 was brilliant at inviting the key influential players of the fashion industry as guests to present their visions and opinions on how we can make the fashion industry more sustainable, more transparent, Fair Trade and that the conscious customer is looking for this. I loved watching the interview between my fav Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes and fashion visionary Renzo Rosso of Only The Brave and Livia Firth, who is extremely influential too with her Eco-Age label and her determination for fashion brands to be sustainable.
Since the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, I’ve brought Safia Minney’s Slow Fashion book and I’m taking Trendline Europe into a new ethical driven direction. I’m going to be active in working with new brands in the fashion, lifestyle and interiors industries to work with you and creating and building up sustainable, transparent and Fair Trade supply chains. To the larger mass market brands I want to work with you to inject eco-friendly clogs into your big fashion business wheel and to the organic cotton small-holder farmers and women’s associations looking to take your products to market I’d love to work with you too. Together we can make the fashion industry more eco-friendly, more respectful to our planet and to those working at all levels of the industry, starting at the bottom and working it’s way up. Let’s do it!
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