News: Reform the Future - Frankfurt Fashion Week meets SDG Summit

For the first time, the Frankfurt Fashion Week and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit took place from July 05th to 09th, 2021. We were there and learned what the future of the sustainable fashion and textile industry will bring with it.

Three models in white outfits with the heading FFW Studio
Source & Copyright by Frankfurt Fashion Week

Author: Lara-Sophie Buckow

  • Fashion events in the future as hybrid events
  • Sustainable change is only possible through collaborations
  • SDG as a guide towards a greener future

Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit as the start towards a more sustainable fashion industry

Important personalities from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe spoke during the digital Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit about the effects of the fashion industry on the environment and how it can be made sustainable in the future. The entire Fashion Week with the motto “Reform the Future” stands for a new lifestyle, transformation and innovative designers. For the first time these events are taking place, completely virtual. In the future, too, so the actors see it, such events will probably also be offered hybrid. Quite apart from the fact that many more people can take part, this is a more sustainable option. You no longer have to travel, but can exchange ideas virtually and digitally, as is the case here.

Frankfurt Fashion Week 2021 banner

Source & Copyright by Frankfurt Fashion Week

Holistic change is only possible through the inclusion of all parties

However, the main topic of the participants of the Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit, presented by the Conscious Fashion Campaign and in collaboration with the United Nations, was the social and ecological problems within the supply chains of the textile industry. This week shall be an international sign to the fashion world that something has to change. And that the SDG are an important component and path of becoming sustainable. "After all, fashion should not only look good, it should also do good," said Günter Sautter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations.

For this, it is important that the actors within the industry come together with governments, science and consumers. Because only in this way a real change is possible. Governments need to supply more incentives and support to implement sustainable ideas. This also includes promoting academic institutes for product design and development. Only in this way can the next generations change the industry with innovative ideas. But the brands themselves also have to work together. Not just to exchange new ideas, materials and methods so that everyone can benefit from them. But also to be able to put more pressure on other industries, for example, to promote sustainable energy generation.

Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council calls for a change in business models. Fast Fashion is unsustainable, clothing needs to be produced in much smaller quantities, ideally only on demand and developed within full circularity. This is the only way to achieve sustainability within the fashion industry. Last but not least, the end consumer is also an important actor in global change. Education through marketing campaigns to support more responsible decisions is needed. It is important to ask questions for more depth, because this is the only way we can understand which actors are really working sustainably and which ones are committing greenwashing. This will result in international brands being forced to converting their supply chains and making them sustainable.

Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit 2021 banner

Source & Copyright by Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit

The United Nations can only support - brands have to implement slow fashion

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union, spoke the day before at the opening of the conference "The New European Bauhaus - Werkstatt der Zukunft "emphasizes the urgency of current change. As a consumer, one has to be careful not to buy a lot and of high quality instead of a lot of harmful things." With fast fashion we have seen how quickly the fashion industry can react to trends. Now is the time Time to make sustainable decisions as an active fashion member ”, says Patrick McDowell, founder of Patrick McDowell and director of sustainability design. With the help of seventeen United Nations SDGs, the brands have taken the first step towards a socially just and environmentally friendly fashion industry. If you start with one goal, the others will follow automatically as they are all connected. Because although some goals are more popular than others, they are all equally important to create a fair and sustainable supply chain globally.

Sustainable change starts with everyone personally

It is now up to the different actors within the fashion and textile industry. It is time to set ambitious goals, to collaborate and exchange ideas and to set a good example. The urgency was stressed by all speakers at the Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit. We are at a turning point where we either continue business as usual or finally make conscious decisions for sustainable clothing.

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