Copenhagen Fashion Week boasts some of the industry’s most exciting brands. The Danish capital is home to many chic Scandinavian labels, which can all be found hanging in the most stylish of women’s wardrobes, and is also the home of some particularly inspiring street style.
Not only is the event (which takes place for autumn/winter 2022 from 1 to 4 February) aesthetically pleasing, but it also takes the lead with highlighting one of the most important conversations in fashion: sustainability.
This season, we’ve worked with Copenhagen Fashion Week and Creative Denmark to understand what it really means to be a responsible brand in the current climate, and what both designers and consumers can do better to look after the planet we call home.
Below, Amalie Røge Hove (founder of A.Roge Hove); Birgitte Raben (owner of Rabens Saloner); Nana Wick (founder and creative director of (di)vision); and Simon Wick (founder and CEO at (di)vision) discuss what makes a designed piece sustainable and how technology can help us work towards a greener fashion industry.
How can technology help us carve out a more sustainable future in design?
Birgitte Raben: "We must focus on how we influence people, the environment and society, and use all necessary tools to reduce the negative impact that fashion has on our planet and increase the positive impact. That's where technology can help us; for example, using 3D designs can reduce the development consumption of fabrics and reduce waste in the process."
Nana Wick: "At (di)vision we have recently started working with 3D renderings of our designs, which allows us to skip a few prototypes. Another thing we recently have started to look into is working with NFTs and digital clothes. This is an amazing opportunity to create something that can be owned by multiple people, without actually existing in a physical world. It’s crazy and it’s fun."
Amalie Røge Hove: "I think technology can help with sustainability in so many ways we don't even know yet, because it lies in the future. For knitting, it will probably help with reducing waste, creating fewer faulty items in production and making the sampling process better, which will also help to reduce waste even more. We recently started producing with a new factory that has almost zero waste, so we are already on our way to more sustainable production."
How can smarter design help with circularity?
BR: "There are many possibilities for how to increase circularity. For example, if we don’t mix fabrics then we can reuse the clothes."
Simon Wick: "In our case, when we work with deadstock - which comes in limited amounts - it can be difficult for us to make a roll of fabric last for enough pieces. We try to implement using multiple fabrics in our styles, including vintage and surplus garments that become upcycled. Combining fabrics isn’t always easy, but through clever pattern making, we are getting to a place where upcycling suddenly makes sense on a larger scale."
ARH: "In many ways, we aim to design for longevity by designing products with a timeless aesthetic and in high quality. We also try to upcycle faulty production and unsold stock as much as possible to reduce waste."
What makes a piece sustainably designed?
BR: "A piece is more sustainably designed if it is made out of high-quality certified fabrics that are not mixed, and if it is a style that you will wear again and again all year round."
NW: "Truth is, we don’t really need more clothes in this world. But we need to find a way to use what already exists in a clever way. We have thousands and thousands of metres of deadstock lying in halls all over the world and even more unused clothes, mis-production and overstock that just gets tossed away because it suddenly doesn’t fit into the current trend. To us, a piece of clothing is sustainably designed when it serves the purpose of using what already exists, as well as being a reflection of our time."
ARH: "Ideally, having the entire supply chain working sustainably - meaning all materials are sustainable, the production has zero waste and the product is designed to last for many years. For example, we design a lot of the styles as full-look knitwear, meaning there is almost no waste. Another side is of course securing social sustainability in the production, which is just as important."