Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Copenhagen Fashion Week: Sustainability First

Action to Drive Sustainable Fashion

Wrapping up at the end of last month, Copenhagen Fashion Week FW20 delivered more than just stellar Scandi style.

Kicking off the new season, Copenhagen Fashion Week CEO Cecile Thorsmark set the benchmark for sustainable fashion weeks by announcing a major action plan.

“All industry players – including fashion weeks – have to be accountable for their actions and be willing to change the way business is done. The time frame for averting the devastating effects of climate change on the planet and people is less than a decade, and we’re already witnessing its catastrophic impacts today. Put simply, there can be no status quo,” urged Thorsmark.

Copenhagen has been ahead of the sustainability game for a while. Single-use plastic bottles are banned and carbon emissions during Fashion Week are offset. Now, new measures are in place to massively reduce the environmental footprint of the event by 2022.

Street style at Copenhagen Fashion Week

“Copenhagen Fashion Week is the cultural and commercial meeting place of the Scandinavian fashion industry. This gives us an enormous responsibility and the potential to create impactful change in the industry at large. By taking this direction we go from being a traditional event to being a platform for industry change.”

Going forward, CPHFW will implement sustainability requirements including strict participation standards for all designers.

Opening the week’s designer lineup was Carcel, a sustainable Danish brand manufactured by women in prison. Instead of the typical runway experience, attendees were shown a video of the brand’s limited edition pieces being crafted by artisans. Projected across the four walls, the video then asked showgoers to walk the runway themselves. Confused but compliant, guests soon realised that there would be no traditional runway show. Instead, Carcel was pointing to the way the fashion industry ought to be.


A number of big-name brands have experimented with new ways to present their collections, such as selling directly through social media platforms or trunk shows. However, the traditional global Fashion Week cycle has been slow to change. Considering the increasing scrutiny the industry is facing, it’s surprising that other fashion capitals with the resources to take massive action are yet to do so.

With Copenhagen Fashion Week leading the charge, here’s hoping the Big 4 follow suit soon.


Catch more international street style looks this week in our gallery.

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