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Friday, December 9, 2022

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2020 Emphasized Redesigning Value In The Fashion Industry.

In a virtual format this year, the summit brought together leading voices in the industry.

The current pandemic has raised several existential questions. What is the necessary amount of what we desire? Where does the human quest for the impossible end? What are we willing to do to never be in a situation like the current one again?

Fashion has a bad reputation for disregarding the needs of the communities that support the industry and ignoring environmental concerns. Copenhagen Fashion Summit, an annual convention of the Global Fashion Agenda, aims to address these concerns by opening up the dialogue.

In the Danish capital, the Royal Concert Hall remained empty this year, except for Eva Kruse, CEO of Global Agenda, and Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, patron of the summit, who recorded their videos from the original venue. At the first-ever digital-only CFS+, discussions focused on rethinking what we value in the product life cycle. In response to the current needs, designers, senior management, activists, and catalysts offered their perspectives on fashion.

NorBlack NorWhite Co-founder Mriga Kapadiya’s video summarized what needs to change regarding smaller independent labels in the music industry. We believe the value system must be redefined before it can be designed. People seem to be waking up with a sense of urgency about sustainable living and practices.

How would you define success today? The contemporary capitalist model appears to be promoting this idea of success that is simply not working or authentic,” said Kapadiya in her segment. She discusses the job losses of garment workers whose companies lost contracts due to the pandemic.

Challenges were the same for brands across the globe—limited supply of raw materials, difficulties in transportation, and severe lockdowns in many countries. Even then, NorBlack NorWhite’s customer base was primarily patient through these times. “We realised that it isn’t that customers aren’t willing to wait, it’s the companies that are creating false expectations of faster being better, cheaper being better,” she added.

To be noticed and rewarded in a largely Westernised industry is another challenge the label experienced. Frequently, Kapadiya and co-founder Amrit Kumar bore the brunt of racist commentary on the show circuit, whether it was asking them to model their clothes on lighter-skinned models or to tone down the ethnic patterns in their textiles. “It was these lessons that we learnt that truly carved out why we are here and what we are here to do,” she concluded triumphantly.

This year’s LVMH Prize finalist Priya Ahluwalia was one of the designers who took part in the CFS+ design challenge. Ahluwalia, the founder of Ahluwalia, who has Indian and Nigerian heritage, has built her brand Ahluwalia on the tenets of conscious practices in design. “For a long time we have had, maybe Asian, African stories told by European designers and I think it’s really important they are not told like that anymore,” she starts off by dismantling colonialism.

Priya Ahluwalia’s visit to Panipat, the recycling capital of India, prompted her to keep cycling at the core of her design philosophy. It is sometimes challenging to think whether this job is helping anybody? But I think despite our criticisms, we all wear clothes.” Ahluwalia created a style that embeds Avery Dennison’s label so users can track down the garment’s origin. The brand will also provide information on garment care and return it to the title if they mean to dispose of it.

Black designers and Asian designers have more visibility today than ever before, and that’s good and needed because we are allowed to tell our own stories instead of letting a Paris fashion house do an Africa collection or something else that drives me nuts,” Ahluwalia concluded her segment. The industry is changing for the better, whether it’s for the sake of the environment or to protect and champion talent democratically, and this new crop of designers will be able to speak out.

“Fashion today should be measured by a company’s carbon footprint and its positive impact on the community,” said Anita Dongre, a veteran of the summit.

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