There’s a dual feeling attached to my attendance at the Global Fashion Summit this year.
After two years not being able to go out, listen and talk to people, I really looked forward traveling to Copenhagen.
The annual summit hosted by the Global Fashion Agenda is the place to be if you’re working in the field of sustainable fashion. Major companies and industry leaders talk about the changes we need to improve the broken system we’re in. And we need that, urgently.
When the opening keynote from CEO Federica Marchionni started out with the words: “It’s time to move the discussion from ‘why to act’ to ‘how to act’ I got excited. Perhaps too excited.
I’ve attended the summit for years and even though events like this and the discussions on stage are relevant and necessary, it feels as if not much has changed in the past 5 years and we’re still talking too much and acting too little.
The main messages we hear on stage remain the same:
•we need to act – NOW
•we need to collaborate – alliances are necessary
•we’re not going fast enough
•we need to change a broken system
The reality is:
•we needed to act five years ago,
•the collaborations we have, often are still too scattered with too many projects and alliances working next to (and competing with) each other,
•it’s hard to speed up the transition and
•a systems change is something that – at this point – seems a bridge too far.
Or to put it in the words of GFA’s board member Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen:
There’s a dual feeling attached to my attendance to the Global Fashion Summit this year.
It felt good to talk to people in the hallways and to feel that they too struggle. We struggle being present in a beautiful Opera House in Copenhagen, talking about what needs to change over a warm cup of coffee, whilst at the other end of the world, garment workers are suffering every second.
I wanted to share these thoughts because it’s easy to share inspiring quotes and impactful numbers on social media. Showing how we’re trying to improve. But I think it’s equally important we share our struggle. My experience working with people in sustainability is that they have the heart in the right place but often get demotivated by the slowness and ‘hugeness’ of the work that needs to be done.
I’m happy that in the hallways of the Copenhagen Opera Hall, we were able to share these thoughts and feelings and got the possibility to motivate each other to keep on going and not to give up. Even if we struggle.