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Ann Wiberg |Courtesy of Ann Wiberg
Ann Wiberg |Courtesy of Ann Wiberg
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How Danish Fashion Brands are Conquering Sustainability

Picture of Aliki Seferou
Updated: 15 July 2017
Denmark is known for her minimalistic Scandinavian designs that every year take over the Fashion Week’s catwalks. However, most people aren’t aware that many Danish designers steer clear of fast fashion and open the way for sustainable fashion, producing high-end garments while at the same time protecting the environment.

Fast fashion vs sustainable fashion

In the late 90s and beginning of the 21st century, the fashion industry saw the rise of the fast fashion model. The fast fashion model is based on current fashion trends which lead to a massive production of clothes (more than 80 billion clothes are produced annually) that are sold in low prices because they are made of low-quality textiles (sometimes contaminated with lead and other dangerous chemicals) often produced in overseas factories, sewn by informal workers and some cases even children.

Several decades ago, there was a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collection but nowadays consumers will have to follow the trends of 52 “micro-seasons” per year. That sounds like a difficult task, right? Maybe that’s the reason why according to Greenpeace the average person buys 60% more clothes and keeps them for half as long as they did 15 years ago. The fashion industry wants us to be in fashion.

Add the environment pollution to the scene and you’ll only have a slight idea why fast fashion is so damaging for us and the planet.

By Signe
By Signe | Courtesy of By Signe|© Crista Leonard

The Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Summit

Luckily in the past few years the Nordic countries, with Denmark on the lead, have started taking control of the fashion industry promoting a more sustainable model. Every year the Danish Fashion Institute hosts the world’s largest and most important event on sustainability in fashion, Copenhagen Fashion Summit. There, the most prominent people and companies in fashion, media and politics discuss their take on sustainable fashion and the industry’s social responsibility. In the 2017 Summit, a report created by the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group will provide the fashion industry with a common baseline of sustainability performance and actionable recommendations for fashion executives and regulators.

By Signe
By Signe | Courtesy of By Signe

Danish designers embrace sustainability in fashion

Since 2008 the number of companies reporting on their corporate responsibility policies has increased, and in 2012 Denmark was ranked second in Europe in a report measuring countries’ performance in eco-innovation at a business, research and governmental level. Denmark’s fashion industry is an example to be followed by other European countries. In the past few years, small and larger brands have implemented sustainable work practices that can reduce the environment’s pollution.

Towel pack
Towel pack | Courtesy of RosenbergCph

The brand Trash Couture, by Ann Wiberg, was established in 2003 and was one of the first sustainable collections in the industry. The renowned designer’s collection was made with stunning antique fabrics, laces, beads and unique embroideries – hand-sewn within the company’s own couture. Nowadays, fashion lovers can find many Danish brands offering high-quality garments made from organic cotton, recyclable polyester, unbleached textiles and other environmentally friendly material. Some are created based on the Scandinavian’s design simplicity some aren’t. However, all of them are elegant and each one has its unique style. BySigne, BARBARA I GONGINI, WORON, RosenbergCph are just some of the Danish designers that add their bit to make fashion industry more sustainable.

Ann Wiberg
Ann Wiberg | Courtesy of Ann Wiberg