Eminent fashion experts convene in Boston to spur sustainability action


Fashion leaders and industry stakeholders convened for the renowned Global Fashion Summit: Boston Edition to mobilise action towards a net positive industry.

Thursday, 28 September: Hosted in Boston, Massachusetts on 27 September, Global Fashion Summit convened hundreds of esteemed representatives from brands, retailers, NGOs, policy, manufacturers, and innovators to transform ambition into action. The Summit was presented by Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), the non-profit organisation that is accelerating the transition to a net positive fashion industry, and marked the first edition of Global Fashion Summit in North America since the forum’s launch in 2009 as a side-event to COP15 in Copenhagen.

The Boston edition further explored Global Fashion Agenda’s 2023 editorial theme, ‘Ambition to Action’, while reflecting on and responding to what happened at Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition in June. By bringing Global Fashion Summit to Boston – a renowned hub for technology, innovation, and education – the Summit presented a deeper exploration of the global challenges, differences, and opportunities towards a more sustainable value chain. The Innovation Forum is a key pillar of GFA’s work, making Boston an apt location to showcase pioneering industry solution providers.

Attendees heard from over 40 speakers from a range of companies and organisations such as Levi Strauss & Co., Tapestry, Neiman Marcus Group, Thunder Voice Hat, H&M Group, Alice and Olivia, BBC StoryWorks, New Standard Institute, Conservation International, Worldly, Trove, Ceres, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, and many more. This Summit also featured esteemed Indigenous speakers on the programme.

The Summit’s second international edition facilitated inspiring thought leadership and exchanges around key themes including: Policy, Finance, and Retail, while also complementing the core priorities of the Fashion CEO Agenda: Respectful and Secure Work Environments, Better Wage Systems, Resource Stewardship, Smart Material Choices, and Circular Systems. The programme featured bold panels, case studies, and leadership roundtables reflecting on topics including: ‘Indigenous Leadership Perspectives’, ‘Exploring Fashion’s ESG Concept’, ‘On The Ground: Adaptation or Mitigation?’, ‘The Global Approach to Circularity’, and ‘Innovation for Value Chain Challenges’.

At the Summit, leadership roundtable meetings took place covering topics that were carefully curated by GFA such as: ‘Harmonising Retail’s Approach to Sustainability’, ‘Extended Producer Responsibility for Textiles on Both Sides of the Atlantic’, and ‘The Future of Sustainable Fashion Education’.

New sustainability initiatives and tools were featured at the event

Highlights include:

  • GFA published the Fashion CEO Agenda 2023 — a concise report to support the establishment and implementation of leadership strategies to achieve a net positive fashion sector. In a first for the Fashion CEO Agenda, this edition has been developed to include subsequent action areas for brands, retailers, and producers.
  • GFA unveiled the latest response to the GFA Designer Challenge 2023, presented by Smiley. Julius Juul, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Heliot Emil, created an alliance with Upcycle Labs. The outcomes were showcased at the Summit through the release of a captivating new video depicting the journey of the designer.
  • GFA launched the GFA Policy Matrix: Americas – a non-exhaustive document that encapsulates a wide array of policy efforts across the Americas. The Matrix complements the GFA Policy Matrix: EU edition released in June and summarises the key legislations going on implicating the textiles industry.
  • Taking a glimpse into the dynamic world of fashion and textiles, the Summit presented a new online series titled ‘Fashion Redressed’ that was launched on 19 September with a collection of unique stories. This series expresses the creativity of the fashion world, spotlighting those who are working to find the stylish side of a more sustainable sector.
  • Trove and Worldly delved into their newly launched study, ‘Where Are Circular Models Effective Sustainability Strategies for Fashion Brands?’ which reveals where and how circular models play an important role for brands working to reduce their emissions when combined with upstream supply chain interventions.
  • The eight members of the first iteration of GFA’s Next Gen Assembly presented their manifesto via a powerful video message to attendees – outlining their aims and ambitions for the group’s continued work to impact the fashion industry by supporting a sustainable trajectory.
  • The recently launched ‘Higher Ground?’ report, by ILR Global Labour Institute and Schroders, was discussed during the session ‘On The Ground: Adaption or Mitigation?’ The report covers the impacts of climate change on global apparel production.
  • During the Global Circular Fashion Forum session, the Alliance for Chemical Textile Recycling (ACTR) was launched, representing a group of textile chemical recyclers for cotton, polyester, and blends. The alliance seeks to contribute to solutions for addressing the textile industry’s impact on society, the environment, and businesses.

The Innovation Forum connected fashion companies with sustainable solution providers

Global Fashion Summit: Boston Edition also presented an Innovation Forum, enabling small and large companies to meet with 14 sustainable solution providers from across the value chain– equipping them with the concrete tools to expedite meaningful actions. GFS Connect facilitated over 90 connections between fashion companies and exhibitors during the Summit.

Federica Marchionni, CEO, Global Fashion Agenda, says: “The first US edition of Global Fashion Summit was a day of remarkable thought leadership that truly showcased how we can transform the ambitious goals of our industry into tangible actions that will have a ripple effect across communities and ecosystems worldwide. Critical dialogues and alliances were forged at the Summit, through which I am confident we can redesign the fashion industry towards a net positive future.”

Global Fashion Summit: Boston Edition was supported by Principal Sponsor, Trove, a leading platform providing branded resale solutions for fashion and apparel.

The event took place following the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Annual Members Meeting in Boston, which was powered by Global Fashion Agenda.

Today, on 28 September, attendees are invited to a workshop at MIT, giving insight into a new model of material innovation to solve climate challenges in the textiles sector.

Bhargav Pathak
Bhargav Pathakhttps://textilesresources.com
With a passion for the textile, apparel, and fashion industry, I embarked on a journey fueled by education from NIFT Gandhinagar and affiliation with NDBI at NID Ahmedabad. Since 2006, I've contributed to various corporate ventures, specializing in B2B, B2C, SaaS, and AI products within the textile domain. In July 2023, I launched TextilesResources.com, a knowledge hub offering the latest news, articles, and soon-to-come features like interviews and a trade fair calendar. Grateful for the growing community, we've recently introduced a Business Directory for enhanced visibility. Join us on LinkedIn and stay connected with the ever-evolving textile landscape!

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