Copenhagen Fashion Week Opening Ceremony, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Glyptoteket.
Good morning, everyone, ladies and gentlemen – esteemed ambassadors, mayors, government officials, politicians, fashion designers & CEO’s, publications, buyers, researchers, fashion organisations and trade fairs, talents.
Welcome to Copenhagen Fashion Week AW23 and to our opening ceremony in this magnificent venue of Glyptoteket. A museum displaying art and archaeological objects through a time span of 6,000 years.
6000 years!… And the day today seems like a drop in the ocean – almost insignificant.
But, in the time span of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s 15 year old history, today marks a big milestone for our organisation. Today is a day, that I’ve been very excited for.
Instead of only being a week of events, we wanted to transform into a platform that works all year round to accelerate the sustainability efforts of brands.
As many of you will remember, three years ago Copenhagen Fashion Week announced that we wished to rethink and challenge our role as a fashion week and organisation. Instead of only being a week of events, we wanted to transform into a platform that works all year round to accelerate the sustainability efforts of brands.
Specifically, what we announced was, that as of this AW23 fashion week, we would implement minimum standards – 18 mandatory Minimum Standards – that all brands must comply with and be able to document in order to participate in the official show schedule.
So today the minimum standards have gone into effect, which means that I am very, very proud to announce that all 28 show brands on the schedule this season are living up to each and every one of the standards. To give some examples: all show brands are now fur-free; their collections are made of at least 50 percent preferred materials; they are all committed to due diligence in their supply chains; they no longer use single-use plastic packaging in store or for online orders; their show is now zero waste.
The brands were asked to sufficiently document these efforts, which means they all went through an extensive sustainability screening in the fall led by Rambøll and supported by Dansk Fashion & Textile and In futurum.
I want to express my deepest appreciation to and admiration for all the brands that have succeeded in living up to the requirements. I know it has required hard work and efforts over the last three years to make the necessary strides. While our minimum standards don’t provide you with an official certification or stamp, it does underline that you are ambitiously dedicated to sustainability. Thank you for believing in our mission, our new purpose and, not least, our demanding methodology.
I would like to extend my warmest thank you’s to everyone involved in the development and the implementation of the Sustainability Requirements framework over the last years: Thank you to my amazing sustainability team at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Gizem and Evelina. You are the watchdogs of the office, but you are also multitalents in everything you handle so carefully from project planning to knowledge sharing. Thank you to our knowledge partners In futurum and Dansk Fashion & Textile, to Rambøll, our sustainability advisory board, our executive board and also the panel of international experts that we were lucky to work with in the development phase of the Sustainability Requirements.
Ever since we announced our sustainability ambitions, I’ve luckily, heard mostly supportive remarks and people applauding our approach, but I’ve also heard sceptic voices say: “why bother, you’re a fashion week, you’re promoting new fashion anyway, so why care about sustainability and a more responsible industry?”
To the sceptics, my answer is clear: If a fashion week can rethink it’s role, if a fashion week can use it’s position to accelerate positive industry change, if a fashion week can challenge our relationship with and mindset around fashion, if a fashion week can use it’s voice to advocate for a brighter future of fashion, then I am convinced everyone else in the fashion system can – and everyone should!
To the sceptics, my answer is clear: If a fashion week can rethink its role, if a fashion week can use its position to accelerate positive industry change, if a fashion week can challenge our relationship with and mindset around fashion, if a fashion week can use its voice to advocate for a brighter future of fashion, then I am convinced everyone else in the fashion system can – and everyone should!
Change won’t happen unless we dare to step out of our comfort zone, re-define the structures of our industry and challenge the convention. And I simply won’t accept the arguments of any critical voices who insist that none of this matters. It matters!
Fashion is one of the biggest voices in our society due to our cultural and industrial heritage. It’s also one of the biggest voices in our society because it inspires through a universal language of aesthetics and creative expression. Fashion is beautiful and powerful in many ways, but fashion becomes sublime when it gets political, even activist, and when it creates movements that will change the course of history.
That is why, fashion should never refrain from using its voice to advocate for environmental and social change. We can and we must challenge the status quo of our industry, our societies, nations, and the planet. We can and must speak up for democracy, the people of Ukraine, the women of Iran, the minorities in our local communities, and the oppressed and less privileged people all over the world. And we must speak up and act to combat the climate crisis.
The 6,000 years of history we are surrounded by today here in Glyptoteket, unfortunately is not the timeframe we have ahead of us, if we listen to what scientists tell us. And that is why the day today is significant. Today, we can all choose to speed up change.
Today here in Copenhagen at Glyptoteket, we may be kicking off another week of shows, but this time a week featuring only fashion brands that are living up to our Sustainability Requirements, making significant headway and leading by example. And this message is to the brands present today: I hope you will continue to progress and challenge yourself and most importantly that you will continue to inspire your fellow colleagues and competitors to follow your lead.