Breakfasting in sunshine

When I’m meeting the participants for breakfast they are sitting outside enjoying the sunshine at the terrace. Danhostel near the Bella Center has been so kind to host them during the days of the summit’s and is taking very good care of them.

Danhostel has been so kind to host the fashion students

Most of them are already dressed up as I arrive and asking me some questions about the opera. The nerves have started to show up – in a good way though.

Wayne Tu from London College of Fashion is excited to hear the speeches by all the prominent guests. His teacher will participate in the event as well, so he hopes she will like their presentation.

“I’m so nervous even though I’m not the one presenting our suggestions on stage. But we have worked so hard on this presentation together” Steff from London College of Fashion tells me.

At another table they are asking me where to go shopping in Copenhagen. They are clearly disappointed in the fact that tomorrow the shops are closed for the public holiday.

A last cup of coffee and we are ready to leave with the bus for the opera house and the COPENHAGEN FASHION SUMMIT!


Here they are – the 100 designers of the future!



Presentation of the next steps towards sustainable fashion

The climax of the day is the presentation by the hardworking groups. The suggested solutions regarding the 7 C’s are being revealed to some of the most powerful people in the industry. The VIP panel consisted of

Eva Kruse (Danish Fashion Institute), Giorgio Pace (V Magazine), Martin Lidegaard (Minister for Climate, Energy and Building), Marko Matysik (Vouge), Kai Margrander (Glamour), Nick Main (Deloitte), Søren Stig Nielsen (Maersk Line), Mark Hachmann (Lee & Fung Sourcing Europe Apparel)

The atmosphere is intense as the suggested solutions are being presented by one student from each group. The panel is carefully listening and sharing their perspectives with us.

The easy choice

“Buying sustainable fashion should be as easy as buying a coffee at Starbucks”.

The host Peter Ingwersen from Day Birger et Mikkelsen sums up one of the presentations. Sustainable fashion should be an easy choice for both producers as well as consumers.

After the feedback the presentations are modified and the groups are now ready with their final presentation for the Copenhagen Fashion Summit tomorrow.

“It’s difficult to boil down such complex areas into one or two punch lines, but it is a cool exercise”, a student from Milan says.


The last finger is put on tomorrow’s presentations

Moving on

The Youth Fashion Summit ends at Maersk with a reception, before a bus is taking us to Christiania for dinner at Spiseloppen. It is a bus full of tired, but happy participants. Everybody agrees that dinner and a drink is the perfect next step of the day.


The Youth Fashion Summit ends with a nice reception

Getting ready for the presentation

Looking around the students work intensively on finishing their presentations. The different groups are practicing their performances. Taking their serious face expressions into consideration it looks like they all could use additional 10 minutes.

Coco Noordervliet from London College of Fashion is writing down the last part of her presentation regarding coolness. She looks confident and excited.

“The time for the workshop was fine. We have worked so focused the last couple of hours and under pressure, and I think we could keep going on and on”, she smiles.

Discussing the 7 C’s 

The next workshop is emphasizing the following 7 C’s; Consumer solutions, Cost, Communications, Convenience, Consultation, Civil society, Coolness

I’m joining the group that is discussing coolness. The group consists of 10 girls.


What is cool?

After a short brainstorm words as confidence, individualism, vintage, sexy and trend setting are written on the board as inspiration for the further discussion. Being so many different people with different cultures and ideas provides a perfect setting for the discussion.

Soon they point out that it is crucial that the clothes need to be as strong in design as any other item and at least as colourful.


Cool is unpolitical

Also not everybody likes to make political statements. Therefore the coolness is preferred to be apolitical.

“It’s better to move focus away from the political part of sustainability, because it is almost impossible to be sustainable all the way. It is better for a brand to pick out some aspects, where you show sustainability”, a girl says and the others agree.


The second workshop of the Youth Fashion Summit - the students discuss the challenges and the solutions of the 7 C's.



Grandmothers coat – perhaps redesigned

Another aspect is to tell the story of the clothes. Give the clothes an identity and think of it as “a good friend”.


Cool sustainable fashion

After two hour’s discussion on making sustainable clothes cool, we are ready for the presentation. The challenge is to create a cult of coolness around sustainable fashion – and for the solution the girls are full of ideas; for instance marking every garment, making it subtle, making the trend setters lead the “movement” ect. 


“It is always difficult with the solutions, because there are so many different approaches to that, but it is interesting to map the opportunities” a girl from Milan says.


Tomorrow’s presenter

Before the next coffee break we are asked to choose our presenter for tomorrow’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit. After a fast vote we have a candidate, who is ready to stand up for 1000 people at the opera house tomorrow – not to mention all the people who watch it in TV or online. We can’t wait to hear Coco from London College of Fashion speak!


After 30 minutes of workshop the key findings from the prepared etnoraids are found and presented.  Each group has discussed their understanding of the challenge and they conclude in agreement that green is the new black – but reaching the consumer is not by appealing to people’s conscience, but by creating sustainable fashion that is COOL and affordable.   

After the presentation it’s time to enjoy lunch outside in the sun. I’m lucky to find a spot near fashion management students from Italy and Taiwan, but who are studying in London, and I’m curious to hear their impressions of the summit so far.

“It’s cool that we all share the same understanding of the challenge – that means that we can move in the same direction,” one of them says.

It’s today!

It’s 10 am and the sun is shining in Copenhagen. More specifically we are at Esplanaden in the centre of the city, where Maersk has been so kind to let us use its beautiful facilities for the Youth Fashion Summit. It’s today.

Approximately 100 of the leading students within the fashion industry from all over Europe are meeting to discuss some concrete initiatives for the future of a sustainable fashion industry – from producer to consumer. Today the focus is mainly on the consumer. But let me get back to that part later.

The last hour the students have been arriving and drinking the first cup of coffee before todays lectures and workshops. The atmosphere is loose. Most people have arrived together from their different schools and slowly people start to mingle around. In a corner a group of seven students concentrate on putting the final finger on a presentation for later, while other students are drinking their coffee in silence, since they flew in from Estonia or London this morning.

Who are they?

As I mingle among them it becomes clear to me that the organizers really have succeeded in putting together the most dedicated people within the fashion industry. Some students are specialised in production management, some in design and materials, some in recycling, some in marketing management, others in politics and economics. A common denominator between them is their interest in sustainability.


Johanna Tobooco from the design school in Copenhagen is mostly looking forward to hearing the other students’ views on how to create awareness on sustainability among the consumers.

Eydis Elin from Iceland and Luisa Naomi Seifert from Germany are also well prepared for the discussions. Luisa is writing her thesis in politics and economics at CBS about the issue of whether it politically is attractive to establish standards in the textile production.

Eydis agrees – it is important to educate the consumer in the production through transparency in the production process and step by step making things better, not perfect.

Hannah van Grimbergen from the design school in London is excited to hear the other students’ inputs, exchange ideas and have a different teaching.

“We already know so much about the subject, it will be great to hear other angles from other schools”, Johanna Kivihall from Estonia explains.

It begins

At 10 it all begins in the lecture hall. We start with a presentation by Søren Skou from Maersk followed by two lovely welcoming speeches by Eva Kruse from the Danish Fashion Institute and Pernille Berg from KEA. Their enthusiasm about the project is amazing. They look at the same time exhausted, happy and excited after working constantly the last couple of weeks for today. This is big and important.

”You are the future and the hope of this industry”, Eva Kruse says smiling “and seeing you makes it all worth it”.


A snapshot from the lecture hall during the presentation by Maersk, Danish Fashion Institute and KEA.

Before I know it we are all put into workshop groups and leaving the lecture hall. Not much talking – this first group work is about sharing knowledge and ideas….Image

The participants – students from the leading design schools in Europe – are sharing knowledge in the first workshop of the day.