Our podcast regularly turns its spotlight on a business leading the way in some of the fastest-growing trend areas impacting design today. With sustainability front and centre, Copenhagen Fashion Week is on a mission to change the way the fashion industry thinks about its impact on the environment and the world around it. Driving this is CEO Cecilie Thorsmark, who is spurred on by her vision of creating a lower-impact fashion industry.
WGSN’s CEO and President, Carla Buzasi, spoke to Cecilie Thorsmark as part of our media partnership with the platform. We discussed how she hopes to drive genuine change, not only in the fashion week she runs, but also that the systems put in place in Copenhagen can be translated to other Fashion Weeks elsewhere in the world. Tune in to find out more.
“We all have a huge responsibility in doing better and being held accountable for our actions. What’s essential is that there’s leadership in Fashion Weeks that are motivated to drive industry change not only to execute a more responsible event, but that we as big, important and influential events take responsibility to say, ‘We have a voice. How can we use that voice to demand action from the industry?’ I think we would have been much further developed as an industry if politics had taken responsibility, but regulation has been lagging behind. I don’t think it’s too late, I just think that it’s essential that other players in the fashion industry try to regulate or demand change.”
Leading by example
“We’ve made our own sustainability action plan, not just as our own target, but because we wanted to inspire other Fashion Weeks and organisations to do the same and to collaborate with us on our requirements system. So it’s something that we’re offering to other companies. It’s one thing having it as a strategic target, but the beautiful thing is that we’ve actually been approached by a lot of Fashion Weeks and organisations. The biggest trade fair in Denmark – CIFF – also signed up to our requirements system. So when we launched it, it was something that would affect roughly 30-40 show brands and now it’s 1,500 exhibitors. So it’s gaining volume and volume is crucial for generating impact.”
The road to diversity
The Danish Fashion Ethical Charter has evolved over the years and in 2016 we introduced some principles around diversity. Since then the brands have been working actively too, for example, they have diverse models cast during Fashion Week. It conveys a more diverse beauty ideal which is super important. We’re seeing diversity during Fashion Week and that’s in terms of everything from ethnicity, skin colour, gender, ages and in general body positivity. That’s not only on the catwalk, but also in the audience and on the streets of Copenhagen. That signals there’s more inclusivity because it’s not like the demographics of Denmark have changed remarkably over the last five years, but our audience has. There’s still work to be done.”
– Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week