Copenhagen Fashion Week Announces Major Sustainability Action Plan

Copenhagen Fashion Week has been steadily gaining recognition as a major destination for discovering emerging fashion designers and spotting cool street style stars. With mid-sized, beloved brands like Ganni and Saks Potts leading the way, there are countless labels coming out of Copenhagen that have caught our attention, such as Cecile Bahnsen, Helmstedt, and Stand Studio. In addition to being a launch pad for Danish creatives, Copenhagen Fashion Week is also doing its part to make climate change a major priority. Moving forward, in order for a brand to show, it’ll have to meet certain sustainability requirements. 

This week, Copenhagen Fashion Week released its sustainability action plan. Meant to run from 2020 through 2022, the organization has committed to reducing negative impacts, innovating its business model, and accelerating industry change across the board. Over the next three years, the Danish fashion week will reduce its carbon footprint by 50% while working to offset carbon emissions stemming from other related operations. The plan also includes developing digital solutions to minimize travel — an idea that was already put into motion this week by Carcel Clothing who showcased its latest collection via projected screens rather than using models and clothes.

Considering the amount of resources that go into producing a fashion week, Copenhagen Fashion Week also aims to become zero waste by implementing bans on single-use items and committing to full reuse and recycling. Beyond this, the organization is calling on designers to take part in the initiative under its 2023 Sustainability Requirements that will come into effect in January 2023. Under these conditions, brands will be required to achieve a certain score to be eligible to apply for a show or presentation on the official Copenhagen Fashion Week schedule. As stated in the document, “Brands can earn points based on six strongly interlinked focus areas covering the entire value chain, including: strategic direction, design practices, smart material choices, working conditions, consumer engagement, and show production.” 

In order to make it onto the official schedule of Copenhagen Fashion Week, all CPH shows and presentations on must meet 17 minimum standards — examples include pledging not to destroy unsold clothes, using at least 50% certified, organic, upcycled or recycled textiles in all collections, and utilizing only sustainable packaging as well as zero-waste set design.

“All industry players – including fashion weeks – must be accountable for their actions and willing to change the way business is done,” expressed Copenhagen Fashion Week CEO Cecilie Thorsmark in the press release. “Fashion weeks are a symbolic, cultural focal point of the fashion world, a platform where new visions, trends, and talents emerge. I, therefore, believe they hold tremendous potential to drive change and, if we dare to be bold, we can change how business is done. We can move from being a source of inspiration and a conversation starter to a facilitator of action.”

We salute Copenhagen Fashion Week for holding itself and Danish brands accountable for their climate impact by creating actionable solutions. Hopefully, other fashion weeks and organizations will soon follow suit.

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