In Scandi we trust is falls short when describing the ethical expectations of the fashion scene. All eyes are on the vast, wooded Nordic countries that began exploring ethical business practices long before other European nations. (The academic kick-off was initiated by Swedish professor Rhenman’s theories in the mid-60s). Apparel is no exception, especially since Copenhagen Fashion Week’s CEO Cecilie Thorsmark inaugurated the fashion capital’s sustainable ‘commandments’ for participating brands, solidifying the city’s position as a fashion capital committed to sustainability. This year marked the end of the trial period: those who couldn’t comply, would be scratched off the schedule. And that kind of cancel culture seems to have a motivating effect.
When legislation fails: CPHFW Sustainability Requirements
The idea is simple: since legislation in fashion moves slowly and climate change faster, someone else needs pull the strings. Hence, Thorsmark used her network and know-how to push the industry to become more sustainable. Speaking for the Danish industry, the CEO called fashion the country’s biggest villain. “The government won’t touch the fashion industry; the press almost won’t write about the fashion industry. It puzzles me that other industries that are hugely challenged, from aviation to agriculture, get massive attention, support, funding—and then no one wants to touch fashion”, she shared with Atmos Magazine.
The latest version of Copenhagen’s three-year sustainability plan for fashion week includes 18 “Sustainability Requirements” spanning six areas: strategic orientation, product design ethos, materials, labor conditions, consumer engagement, and the fashion week event’s production. Starting from the AW23 edition, compliance is obligatory for all participating brands, whether presenting through a fashion show, presentation, showroom, or trade show. Brands have already begun integrating these prerequisites. The soft launch is officially over.