EVENT REVIEW: Technology – the answer for a better fashion industry?
Over 150 industry experts and pioneers from around the globe came together for this one day event in London to discuss the latest trends in technology and how they could shape a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.
A wealth of new knowledge, innovative developments, and inspiring business models were shared with attendees, who ranged from start-up designers, to large textile suppliers, and corporate organisations, all wanting to transform the way the fashion industry impacts people and the planet.
SOUCE and Ethical Fashion Forum CEO, Tamsin Lejeune, was thrilled with the success of the day: “The time for this conversation is absolutely now. The impact that these innovations in technology could have, and are already having, for a more sustainable fashion industry is incredible, and the excitement around it is palpable. We are delighted to bring together such great thought-leaders in this space and share the knowledge with all of our global members.”
An industry leaders panel was chaired by Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and ex-VP of Skype, to engage the attendees in this conversation by looking at how technology has already transformed so many other parts of our lives.
Also on the panel was Caitlin Bristol, Global Social Innovation Manager at eBay, who shared that developing and emerging markets are going to be the player to watch in the fashion industry over the next few years. Between 2004 and 2012, total sales on eBay have grown by almost 800% in developing countries.
The question is, how do we enable this growth to happen sustainably?
Sarah Ditty, SOURCE Editor in Chief’s, gave the audience a trend report on the state of the industry – this year, as it pertains to trends in technology, sustainability, and fashion. Transparency and traceability was identified as one of the most critically important areas for fashion businesses today. The Behind the Barcode report from Baptist World Aid Australia found that 91% of fashion brands still don’t know where their cotton comes from, and 75% don’t know the source of all their fabrics and inputs.
The implication of this is that consumers are increasingly wanting to know where their products come from, and companies that don’t focus on the transparency and traceability of their supply chain will no longer be trusted by the increasingly sceptical millennial generation of consumers.
Instead, Ditty noted, values-based businesses are the way of the future, explaining that “consumers now expect brands and businesses to exist to serve society: on an individual and a collective level… Individual value at the expense of the society or environment is increasingly seen as an empty tradeoff.”
Technology has the potential to play a critical role in empowering this type of fashion business.
The fashion industry has previously been relatively slow to embrace technology compared to many others, but the renaissance that is happening now and the impact that it is beginning to have for the future of fashion is immense.
From QR codes being used to view the provenance of a product in real-time whilst shopping as done by Fashion Footprint, to high-tech textile companies like Patagonia creating 100% traceable fabrics that use more sustainable production practices, the next generation of fashion leaders are changing the way technology and fashion works together to create a more sustainable future.
“Waste is going to be a huge problem that we’re going to need to solve quickly as an industry. Last year the worldwide consumption of textiles reached about 73 million tonnes and is expected to grow at about 4% a year. And when you consider that only about 20% of textiles are recycled each year, these new advancements are a huge opportunity to address this.” Ditty said.
These issues were explored in more depth at afternoon masterclasses which looked at technology and fashion in the contexts of Retail, Supply Chain, Innovation, and Design. The masterclass sessions enabled delegates to explore these issues in greater detail with experts such as Marisa Todd, VP of Product & UX at Depop (and previously at Farfetch.com), and Renee Cuoco from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (London College of Fashion), amongst others.
The final session of the day was a quick but highly invigorating plenary led by Lucy Shea, CEO of Futerra, the world’s leading sustainability communications agency. By a show of hands, every single person in the audience agreed that technology could be the solution for a better fashion industry. Watch this space.
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS:
SOURCE Founding partners will exhibit at the heart of SOURCE Summit 2015. SOURCE Founding Partnership puts the spotlight on some of the most exemplary businesses and organisations in the fashion sector, offering them dedicated promotion through the SOURCE platform.
To find out more about Founding Partners or to become a Founding Partner, email us: [email protected]
In 2005 Origin Wine and the employees of the Du Toitskloof Cooperative established the internationally accredited Fairhills Fairtrade project in Rawsonville. The aim of the Fairhills Association is to create revenue, through their wine brands, which will enable them to uplift the people within the community by growing their skills base.In light of the success achieved with Fairhills, Origin Wine has developed two further projects – a Fairtrade Organic initiative in the Northern Cape and one with producers in the Worcester region. Together more than 1,500 people benefit from the premiums raised through the sales of our Fairtrade certified wine.
Liberation Foods is a farmer-owned, Fairtrade nut company. Liberation’s nuts are sourced from co-operatives of small-scale growers and farmers who own a 44% share of the company. The company brings together peanut farmers from Nicaragua and Malawi, cashew nut farmers from India and more, with the joint aim of providing great quality product for consumers and a secure future for the farmers’ families.
Rachel Manns is a freelance photographer based in London working with responsible brands towards a better world. She uses her camera to aid positive change in the fashion industry by producing quality work for conscious clients.
eco cuisine is an award winning, ethically run catering business in the UK, sourcing meat and fish from Devon and Cornwall. All fruit and vegetables are British and/or organic. They offer a range of menus for both corporate and private events, working lunch sandwich/wrap platters, finger food or fork buffets, canapés, bbq’s and fully serviced sit down meals.
Be Inspired Films is more than just a video production company – for those that are looking to make a real difference.
Working strategically with you to create broadcast quality video and animation to bring your story to life in a way that inspires your staff, stakeholders, customers and supporters. Be inspired also trains teams how to make good user-generated video content.
Divine is a farmer-owned Fairtrade chocolate company dedicated to making every chocolate occasion a moment to cherish. They use the ‘best of the best’ cocoa from Ghana, and aim to create an ever-growing variety of flavours, treats, gifts, and seasonal specialities making sure there is something to tempt everyone. When you choose Divine – whether for a gift, a celebration, or simply five minutes to yourself – you can savour the knowledge that the goodness goes on even after every morsel is gone. While the cocoa farmers share the profits, we hope you will share the pleasure.