*By Alice Beyer Schuch for the Brazilian site Stylo Urbano – May 2017 / Cover pic: Pili, author’s archive.
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit (CFS), held annually in Denmark, is one of the most significant events approaching Sustainable Fashion issues in the big industry. In addition to numerous debates, the event also featured an exhibition of innovative and disruptive alternatives related to the circularity of fashion, the main theme of this year – from technologies to business models – in the space called Solutions Lab.
Among the 10 different exhibitors, I was happy to find also some Brazilian names. Nova Kaeru, which offers exotic and environmentally-tanned discard leathers, and Flavia Amadeu with her Amazonia rubber were selected to be part of the Future Fabric Expo by The Sustainable Angle curatorial exhibition.
In addition to my Brazilian countrymen, other new materials and finishes could be seen – such as fabrics made of orange peel, apple peel leather, or rPET with oyster shell, as well as numerous certified Cradle 2 Cradle options – a small sample of the collection of more than 2000 materials from about 80 different companies.
“When we talk about fashion, it is extremely important to make spaces like this possible, where innovations and sustainable alternatives can be presented in the form of experience, to be felt, touched” (Amanda Johnston, curator of The Sustainable Angle)
Still on textile alternatives … at exhibition was the new material RefibraTM, Tencel® fiber produced with up to 20% of cotton fabrics discarded by the textile industry, what is nice news, as the last time I could talk with them was only 10% possible. Items can already be purchased at select Zara stores and very soon, according to Sylvia Happel – director of Merchandising Lenzing for Northern Europe, companies like Patagonia will also offer products developed with the material, signalling its spread in the market.
Another innovation in the area of ecological chemical recycling that could be seen was presented by the group Trash-2-Cash, which aims to create high-quality alternatives from textile and even paper – through its innovation Ioncell-F (my partner for my master project!).
But solutions were not just about materials. Sustainable alternatives, such as 3D piloting offered by Lectra, suggest reducing the development of physical samples up to 70% – generating financial benefits in time, labor and resources. Manufacturing innovations were also present, such as Hirdaramani – the first global green factory in Sri Lanka (Gold LEED certified), low-cost oxidation and low-cost installation solutions from Dragon, as well as the Fashion for Good selected start-up Pili with its microorganism dyeing stuff.
Also, Business models were represented by two areas: CO: Common Objective – an intelligent network platform, connecting the different players of sustainable fashion with opportunities; and Dutch Awearness – which offers product-as-a-service in the field of 100% recyclable and circular corporate uniforms. Martine Jarlgaard & Provenance have jointly presented big-data technology solutions through Blockchain technology for greater process transparency and product tracking (which can be accessed by scanning the QR code / token in each item).
This year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit focused on Circular Fashion, its alternatives and the possibility of applying innovation in scale. Thus, there is no doubt about the relevance of the work being done by each of the companies that were present in Solutions Lab, addressing different stages of the process, supporting the change to a more coherent, responsible and 100% circular fashion.
“Creativity needs to be implemented in scale to be called disruptive innovation as it generates the well-deserved and necessary impact on the system” (David Roberts, vice president of Singularity University)
** During the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, a first draft for a UN Resolution on Fashion was also presented, elaborated by the Youth Fashion Summit group.