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