About Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The fifth edition of the world’s most important event on sustainability in fashion, Copenhagen Fashion Summit, took place on 11 May 2017 at Copenhagen Concert Hall under the patronage of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

As a meeting platform for the fashion sector’s decision-makers, leading NGOs, experts, policy-makers and academia, the Summit created a common understanding and gained industry-wide commitment on the most critical issues facing our industry and planet.

Leaders from the fashion sector, NGOs, policy and academia gathered in Copenhagen around 11 May 2017 to partake in the important discussion on how the fashion industry can contribute to a world beyond the next season.

Furthermore, more than 100 top students, as part of the Youth Fashion Summit presented a draft for the first-ever UN resolution on fashion. At educators Summit, 100 academics coming from leading international institutions came together to give the next generation’s perspective on tomorrow’s innovations.


This year, major changes have been made to the programme, evolving the Summit into a much more interactive forum to inspire action and innovation. By reinventing the format of networking sessions and closed door meetings, we expanded our attendees' knowledge and experiences regarding new business models, technologies and the future of the fashion industry.

The lunch breaks were used as facilitated networking session that allowed participants and speakers to network and discuss. Based on information the participants provided, they were personally invited by a high-profile host to participate in a group lunch session with like-minded people to discuss topics that are relevant to them and their business while enjoying their lunch.


As reflected in the breadth of perspectives that were offered at Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2017, sustainability in fashion can be approached from any number of angles and agendas. The information and views that circulate — from data on recycling and waste reduction to arguments on transparency and consumer responsibility — can be a jungle to navigate. Moreover, professionals in certain areas and positions may want to focus on a given concept or direction, while others may want to pursue a broad overview of developments pertaining to sustainability in the industry.

That is why the 2017 Summit addressed four specific paths to sustainability: the macro perspective, circular design, supply chain transparency and sustainable consumption. All four paths pertained to topics that are of particular opportunity, as uncovered in the inaugural  Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, jointly researched and produced by Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group.

Outcomes of the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit


This year’s Summit emphasised the need for commitments from participants and provided actual solutions and tangible outcomes. The programme consisted of conversations and panel debates where leading voices and innovative minds shared their view on businesses and new solutions to the pressing challenges facing the fashion industry. That way, Copenhagen Fashion Summit paved the way for actual change happening in the industry.



The 2017 commitment was a call to action by Global Fashion Agenda to create a unified effort among fashion brands and retailers to increase the extent to which garments and footwear are collected, reused and recycled. We called on them to lead the way and make a public commitment to actively take steps to accelerate the fashion industry´s transition to a more circular system. To achieve the goals and intentions they signed for, a toolbox will provide them with tangible information to do so. Get further information and see who signed the commitment here.

Ground-breaking report on state of the industry

One of the biggest highlights of this year’s Summits was the revolutionary “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report. The report is a new foundational initiative that was first released this year and was devised in collaboration with our knowledge partner The Boston Consulting Group. This annual report was the first of its kind to summarise where we are as an industry today, advance the business case for sustainability and provide actionable recommendations for companies across the supply chain. Get more information here.



8:00 am

Registration and light breakfast

9:00 am

Welcome address by Brian Mikkelsen

Denmark’s Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs

“Cradle to cradle and the circular economy”

William McDonough, chief executive, McDonough Innovation

“Taking the Pulse of the Fashion Industry”

presented by Javier Seara, partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group and Caroline Chalmer, chief operating officer, Global Fashion Agenda

Where does the fashion industry stand today in terms of sustainability efforts, and what is the business case for specific actions for such ends? This session presents the main findings of the first annual Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, a groundbreaking study developed by Global Fashion Agenda, together with the Boston Consulting Group as a knowledge partner. The Pulse report aims to offer a common baseline of ideas about sustainability that we believe will enable and empower the fashion industry to act on sustainability, making critical findings about efficacy of different models available to board-room decision-makers and others influencing business strategy. Exposing where we stand on the critical environmental and social challenges facing fashion, the presentation will outline the Pulse report’s top priorities for decision-makers to capture the €160 billion opportunity from sustainability in fashion, building on a wealth of data, including case studies and best practices from industry leaders, economic impact figures by brands and manufacturers, and much more.

Read more about Javier Seara here.

“Shifting to a circular system”

Ellen MacArthur, founder, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Wendy Schmidt, president, The Schmidt Family Foundation, moderated by Lewis Perkins, president, Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute

Since the first Industrial Revolution the textile industry’s linear business model (take, make, waste) has eroded natural capital in pursuit of economic capital. The fashion industry has the opportunity, and arguably an obligation, to lead the transition to a new circular system that restores and regenerates materials – moving from doing less harm to doing more good. This new system offers new opportunities for innovative design, increased customer engagement and the capturing of economic value. This panel debate will explore new opportunities ahead and partnerships for creating a circular system for apparel and other fashion goods –moving from the present linear value chain into the full potential of safe materials, intelligently cycled with positive impact on people and planet, while generating greater value for all stakeholders.

“Call to action for a circular fashion system”

Eva Kruse, CEO & president, Global Fashion Agenda and Jonas Eder-Hansen, chief content officer, Global Fashion Agenda

“Investing in sustainable growth”

Martijn Hagman, CFO, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, Miroslava Duma, founder and CEO, Fashion Tech Labs Venture Inc., David Roberts, serial entrepreneur and thought leader, Singularity University, moderated by Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen, senior vice president, BSR

In an increasingly resource-constrained world, sustainability factors represent risks as well as opportunities for the fashion industry. A broad range of new technological advancements is developing in fields like recycling, waste minimisation and fabric innovation, but it can be difficult to navigate which of these hold the most promise, not just for the environment, but for profitability. Fashion companies and external investors need to consider carefully which sustainable business practices to prioritise as they become more critical to innovation and the creation of long-term stakeholder value. Further, fashion companies and investors must consider which startups to invest capital in for the technical and business solutions to environmental and societal challenges. But where in the fashion value chain do we see the best opportunities for return on investment, and will investments in sustainability potentially conflict with the fiduciary duty to maximise returns?

“Sustainability and strategy”

Mark Langer, CEO, Hugo Boss in conversation with Tyler Brûlé, editor-in-chief, Monocle

HUGO BOSS has recently launched a new corporate strategy focussed on profitable growth. This conversation between HUGO BOSS CEO Mark Langer and Tyler Brûlé, editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine, will explore what role sustainability plays in reaching HUGO BOSS’s strategic goals, and what new initiatives are being planned and implemented in order to succeed in reaching those goals for the forward-looking German fashion label.

11:15 am


11:45 am

"Learning through academia"

Dilys Williams, director, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts

Youth Fashion Summit

“Innovation with the next generation”

Eileen Fisher, founder, Eileen Fisher, Inc. and Teslin Doud, social innovator in conversation with Julie Gilhart, creative business consultant

This conversation between American designer Eileen Fisher, social innovator Teslin Doud and veteran retail consultant Julie Gilhart will explore how to rethink and redefine the fashion system, from design to manufacturing to retail, and how inspiration from the next generation of designers can help question some of the established ways of working within fashion to go beyond business as usual. It is not just new technologies that have the potential to change fashion, but innovations in business models and consumer outreach. Some of the best minds in the business will offer keen insights as to how.

“Of dirt and fine jewellery”

Michael J. Kowalski, chairman of the board and interim CEO, Tiffany & Co. in conversation with Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times

This conversation, between Tiffany & Co. chairman/interim CEO Michael Kowalski and fashion editor Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times, will explore Kowalski’s ideas for responsible mining, his background in environmentalism, why it took luxury so long to become public about its actions, consumer reactions — and what the Trump presidency means to all of this. Expect a wide-ranging conversation that puts fashion into relevant economic and political contexts.

“Constructive fashion advocacy – the next frontier”

Livia Firth, founder and creative director, Eco-Age, Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation Denmark, Jessica Simor, QC, Matrix International, moderated by Lucy Siegle, journalist

This panel brings together key representatives of significant streams of new fashion advocacy who have, until now, been part of the sustainable fashion usual suspects, including fashion industry CSR professionals, ethical fashion enthusiasts and concerned consumers. Panel participants acknowledge that for the first time in history, we have defined internationally agreed-upon goals and standards for activating sustainable development through human industry — the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This panel debate will unveil and discuss an initial report that shows how the legality of the living wage has been established as a fundamental human right.

1:00 pm


2:50 pm


Annie Gullingsrud, director, Fashion Positive, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Cecilia Takayama, director, Materials Innovation Lab, Kering, Chris Grantham, circular economy portfolio director, IDEO, Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, circular lead, H&M Group, DISCUSSION LEADER: Joe Iles, editor-in-chief, Circulate

This the most exhilarating era to be a designer. Transitioning to the circular economy is one of the biggest creative challenges of our times, and design thinking is a great innovation tool for tackling complex systemic challenges. It offers a creative confidence-building approach, generates momentum through prototyping and feedback loops, and strengthens insight around what works. The shift towards circular design is already in motion and innovators in other industries have shown that radical new designs are possible. How can circular design be of value in the fashion industry, how can the creatives get started and what are the current material opportunities?

2:50 pm

BREAKOUT SESSION: Technology Innovations

Marco Lucietti, global marketing director, ISKO™, Giulio Bonazzi, chairman and CEO, Aquafil Group, Leonard D. Lane, managing director, Fung Academy, Christoph Hahn, managing director, I:CO, Amit Gautam, executive vice president, global business management textiles, Lenzing, DISCUSSION LEADER: Dio Kurazawa, denim director, WGSN

Innovations in technology have an immense impact on nearly all aspects of our life and have changed our ways of manufacturing from scratch. The automation of production continues and provides us with ways to reduce pressing issues around working conditions and environmental problems. But if we reach the point where robots replace workers in factories, we are simultaneously faced with the challenge of jobs being lost on a massive scale, consequently depriving workers of their livelihoods. This session is dedicated to exploring promising technologies that have the power to change the industry, from 3D printing to robotics in cut and sewing factories, but from a critical perspective that takes into account societal consequences of such progress. Brand representatives, solution providers and technology experts will discuss the various possibilities of these technological innovations as well as their intrinsic challenges.

2:50 pm

BREAKOUT SESSION: Customer Engagement

Daniella Vega, director of sustainability, Selfridges, Kirsten Brodde, campaign leader, Greenpeace, Vanessa Belleau, head of consultancy EMEA, WGSN MINDSET, Shaway Yeh, editorial director, Modern Weekly, Elin Larsson, sustainability director, Filippa K, DISCUSSION LEADER: Lucy Shea, CEO, Futerra

Even though change and commitments must be made on behalf of the industry, consumers play a crucial role in pushing sustainability forwards. They are in the powerful position of being able to create demand and support brands that make efforts in that area. They have the power to push sales and decide which products will sell and which ones will remain shelf warmers. Consequently, companies need to know their customers and how they can reach them on sustainability matters. It is not a simple task for consumers to navigate the jungle of fashion labels with varying production practices, certifications and jumbled information about a product’s origins — and thus not easy for companies to easily communicate how they stand out in terms of sustainability. This session collects knowledge from very different standpoints and will discuss different ways and strategies for the fashion industry to be more sustainable and to communicate this to their customers in engaging formats.

2:50 pm

BREAKOUT SESSION: Supply Chain Transparency

Paul van Zyl, CEO, Maiyet, François Zimeray, Ambassador of France to Denmark, Lola Young, Baroness and independent member, House of Lords, Simon Platts, director of sourcing, ASOS.com, Arnaud Soirat, chief executive, Copper & Diamonds, Rio Tinto, DISCUSSION LEADER: Simone Cipriani, founder and manager, the Ethical Fashion Initiative at the International Trade Centre

To what extent is it the responsibility of companies, brands and retailers to have a transparent supply chain and open up about where they source from? This session will discuss the hot topic of transparency in the supply chain, including issues surrounding supplier list publication, human rights and modern slavery. Supply chain transparency, which is the focus of public awareness and often the media, may be one of the biggest challenges the fashion industry is currently facing. Who is responsible for providing the necessary information, and how can fashion labels work together with NGOs and governments to create transparency standards that are fair to all and create a common language?

3:55 pm


4:25 pm


4:35 pm

“Fashion for a cause”

Prabal Gurung, designer, Prabal Gurung, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, creative directors, Public School, John Moore, co-founder and creative director, Outerknown, moderated by Simon Collins, founder, Fashion Culture Design

Designers and fashion houses have taken to the runway to voice their opinions on the current political climate, using their designs as tools of expression to make statements, celebrate their values and pose questions about the future of our world. Such political or societal commentary is not, however, always met with applause all around: some statements can be seen as mere marketing ploys, while others may even be taken as counter-productive to a worthy cause due to the image of fashion houses as purveyors of luxury for the wealthy. So how do you effectively put a message out and what kind of message is the right match for a label and its company’s DNA? This panel debate will explore fashion’s role in current culture and politics, with panellists sharing their unique experiences and discussing the importance of taking a stance and challenging the meaning of fashion in our society.

“Global Fashion Agenda: a call for industry-wide collaboration”

Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer, Kering, Jason Kibbey, CEO, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Anna Gedda, head of sustainability, H&M, Kelly Caruso, president, Target Global Sourcing, Rick Darling, executive director of Government & Trade Relations, Li & Fung Trading, moderated by Thomas Tochtermann, chairman, Global Fashion Agenda

The fashion industry is fraught with many well-meaning, often individually effective but fragmented and small-scale sustainability initiatives. Meanwhile, the sustainability issues facing our industry are too large for any one firm to tackle individually. What the fashion industry needs now is collaborative action taking and a joint focus on the most critical sustainability issues. In response to this need, Global Fashion Agenda has been created to lead the way on setting the sustainability agenda for the industry and bring this much needed focus, but also to spearhead a movement to clear the path towards identification and implementation of the most promising solutions. This panel debate will explore the motivations of Global Fashion Agenda’s founding partners in joining such a collaborative leadership movement, and their vision for a more sustainable way of doing business in fashion, for a world beyond next season.

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

5:55 pm

Closing remarks by Eva Kruse

CEO & president, Global Fashion Agenda