It’s no secret that Denmark is a leader when it comes to sustainability, whether we’re talking about lifestyle, transportation, or fashion. One of their most notable feats is definitely in the fashion industry. Denmark is leading the world in sustainable fashion and we’re going to break down just how they’re doing it, as well as how other countries can get behind their movement.

Day 3 -  Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020
Photo by Yuliya Christensen/Getty Images

Denmark has a long standing record of being environmentally conscious and some of the biggest fashion sustainability programs/groups formed there. Copenhagen is home to the Global Fashion Agenda, which is “a leadership forum on sustainability in fashion focusing on industry collaboration and public-private cooperation” (Business of Fashion). The non-profit organization aims to guide the fashion industry to take action on sustainability. The Global Fashion Agenda also holds one of the biggest events of the year in fashion sustainability – the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

We just recently found out about this amazing event (how in the world we didn’t know about this is still a mystery to us) and will (hopefully) be attending virtually or watching recap videos. The Summit is a gathering of some of the worlds leading industry voices, featuring researchers, designers, politicians, journalists, environmentalists, and more (Copenhagen Fashion Summit). And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Denmark has to offer.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 00-story-copenhagen-fashion-summit-1024x683.jpg
Image via Vogue

For instance, Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week, put a three-year action plan into place that will require brands to increase their environmental and ethical practices. This includes a 17 point checklist along with a points system that would require a minimum level of sustainability for the brands, staging companies, and others to participate in the event (Forbes). The requirements will start in 2023 and brands will have to meet all 17 points on the list. Thorsmark’s idea promotes circular fashion rather than fast fashion and gives brands the opportunity to rethink their impact on the environment.

One thing that makes sustainable fashion a tiny bit easier in Denmark is that consumers are more focused on quality rather than quantity. Danes invest in the basics such as jackets, coats, knits, and boots – often referred to in women’s fashion as the “Scandi Girl Look”. (Which we absolutely adore) They also love thrifting and flea markets to find other items, although they are a bit pricier since they don’t see something as less valuable if it’s in good condition (Scandinavia Standard).

Street Style - Copenhagen Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019
Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Sustainability is rooted in the Danish fashion culture and while it’s not perfect, Denmark is making great strides in promoting and ensuring sustainable practices. Perhaps fashion weeks like Milan, Paris, or New York can also take the initiative to require a minimum sustainability level for attending brands. With this, however, would have to be transparency and honesty from brands about their usage and ethics. Copenhagen is one of the fashion capitals of the world for a reason, and the “Scandi Girl” look could be driving change throughout the fashion industry.


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