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2012 in Sustainable Fashion, Review of the Year

In less than 3 weeks we will be saying “goodbye 2012” and “hello 2013”! But before doing that lets take a look back to this year and see what it has brought to our industry. Here is our  pick of 2012 key Sustainable Fashion events:

1. Copenhagen Fashion Summit set the international agenda on sustainability and fashion2012 Copenhagen fashion summit The 2012 Copenhagen Fashion Summit gathered 1043 key industry stakeholders of the fashion industry from 27 different countries to share insights and identify new opportunities and forward-looking solutions for the global fashion industry to tackle the growing environmental challenges. The focus of the summit was to discuss ways on how to involve and engage consumers in sustainable consumption. A framework for engaging consumers in sustainable consumption of fashion was outlined and hander over to the Danish EU Presidency and the European Commission. The framework was also presented at the UN conference - Rio+20 negotiations.

2. Rio + 20 changing the world through fashion Rio+20 Corporate sustainability forumAlthough the role of the fashion industry in sustainable development was not mentioned in the final Rio + 20 texts, it was discussed at the Corporate Sustainability Forum by the fashion industry representatives like H&M, Gucci, PPR Group, the Danish Fashion Institute and the United Nations Global Compact. The outcome of the discussions showed that the fashion industry is beginning to take its impacts very seriously and taking necessary steps toward a more sustainable future.

3. First UK’s sustainable fashion lab launched by M&SM&S fashion labOne of the initiatives that drew attention this year was M&S first UK’s Sustainable Fashion Lab, launched in partnership with Oxfam and the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The Lab brought together designers, stylists and thought leaders to spark a conversation about how the fashion industry can be more sustainable. What made the project particular was that the general public was given a behind-the-scenes look into the world of 21st Century fashion and offered the opportunity to witness the stars of environmentally friendly fashion at work.

 4. Greenpeace Detox campaign: more top fashion brands joining the ranks Detox ZaraLaunched in July 2011, the Detox campaign has exposed links between textile manufacturing facilities causing toxic water pollution in China, and many of the world's top clothing brands. Following brands have committed this year to detox: M&S, Zara, Mango and Esprit. The campaign is still on as more brands need to respond to the urgency of the situation and take ambitious action to rid the fashion world and our precious water supplies of toxic chemicals.

 5. China’s rise in Sustainable fashion Ethical fashion ChinaAs the manufacturing hub of the world, many of the challenges China faces include managing the great amount of textiles wastes as well as providing sufficient education on how to design sustainably to Chinese fashion designers. To tackle these issues, Redress has created the Eco-chic Awards to challenge Emerging fashion designers and students to create mass-market appeal clothing with low textile waste, via zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction design techniques.  With the success of the second edition, we can confidently assert that China has caught the ethical fashion movement’s flame.

 6. Sustainable Fashion in the spotlight at the 2012 British Fashion AwardBritish fashion awards 2012Stella McCartney, one of Sustainable Fashion leaders, has been named Designer of the year by the British Fashion Awards. She also received the Designer Brand Award on behalf of her eponymous label. This recognition not only highlights the achievements of the designer in the fashion industry but it also reveals the potential of Sustainable Fashion in becoming mainstream fashion in the near future.

 7. Fast fashion is still making victimsFast fashion killsWhile we celebrate the progresses of Ethical Fashion this year, we are still confronted to the realities of fast fashion which is continuing to make victims: garment-factory fires killed 300 in Pakistan, 112 in Bangladesh, 14 in Southern China and the list goes on. Business as usual can no longer continue!

 What’s in for 2013?

For next year, we anticipate more initiatives from mainstream fashion brands towards sustainability as well as the birth of new sustainable fashion brands. We think 2013  could be “a year for sustainable innovation”!

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