Published: June 15, 2016

Copenhagen Fashion Summit

Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2016

Kara Ladd, Leeds graduate and contributor to The New York Observer, recently covered the Copenhagen Fashion Summit which gathers industry leaders to examine fashion’s environmental and social footprint.

For its fourth edition, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit took place early May with a variety of fashion, political and business professionals focusing on this year’s theme of ‘responsible innovation.’

Fashion and Sustainability

As the fashion industry becomes increasingly plagued with severe global challenges (i.e. water pollution, low wages, poor working conditions and carbon emissions) consumers are growing more informed and as a result, allow their purchases to be influenced by products’ social and environmental impacts. Companies like Patagonia, are now taking the industry’s sustainability expectations to new heights. But, with such a high level of dedication to social and corporate responsibility, manufacturing of a jacket still produces 150 liters of water and 20 pounds of CO2 gas emissions.

Fashion Giants

Innovators and trendsetters alike flocked to the sold out conference. Attendees included fashion industry leaders such as Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic at The New York Times, Hannah Jones, CSO of Nike, and Anna Gedda, head of sustainability of H&M. Leading the conversation for the highly anticipated event was Eva Kruse, CEO of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

The summit featured an impressive speaker list including Rick Ridgeway, vice president of public engagement at Patagonia, Hannah Jones, chief sustainability officer and vice president at Nike, and Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age Ltd. The goal was to inspire new solutions and business models with sustainability in mind.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, for gave one of the most impactful speeches of the summit, according to Ladd. Mary spoke with “passion” and “transparency” on a wide range of important issues from gender equality to poor working conditions.  

Moving Forward

With ‘sustainability’ becoming a buzzword across all industries, Ladd notes that this term is being replaced by ‘responsible innovation.’ This means that companies are evolving by creating products that are revolutionary, as well as methods and measures that are ethical.

Another point continually stressed throughout the summit is the power of the youth of the world. It is undeniable that the millennial generation is on the rise, graduating from school and taking on the job market. Ladd emphasizes the importance of accessible education and industry focused programs.

We must also be aware of the fact that eco-friendly initiatives can help (not hurt) your wallet. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the environment when making purchases. For this reason, companies need to become both environmentally and socially conscious.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Kara Ladd

Kara Ladd, Leeds School of Business graduate

About Kara Ladd

“…to inspire and educate fashion and lifestyle consumers to purchase with the idea of a better tomorrow”

Kara Ladd’s former professor for the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) course Business Applications of Social Responsibility, Kevin McMahon shared that “Kara was a great student in my BCOR 3010 class and has built a strong career in international fashion.”  

The Leeds graduate has burst into the fashion industry with jobs at publications such as Italian Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Brides and Foam. With a focus on sustainable fashion as well as designers who are environmentally and socially conscious, Ladd strives “to inspire and educate fashion and lifestyle consumers to purchase with the idea of a better tomorrow.”

Ladd documents her passions of fashion, travel and food on her website Boundless Fashion. Aside from her blogging, Ladd currently works for Fashion consultant Julie Gilhart and contributes as a Fashion Features Editor to The New York Observer with a focus on the sustainable fashion beatFollow Ladd on social media to stay up-to-date on the latest in sustainable fashion: 
Instagram: @boundlessfashion


Check out CESR's inspirational courses in sustainability.