While global fashion weeks may look a little different this year, as designers pivot to digital presentations and the once exclusive front row is replaced by livestreams, one topic remains firmly at the top of the agenda: sustainability. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Copenhagen Fashion Week, which has partnered with Zalando to introduce a new Sustainability Award that will spotlight the brands leading the charge in both style and sustainability.
As part of Zalando’s commitment to fostering a responsible fashion industry, the award will launch this month at Copenhagen Fashion Week with the aim to: “Encourage fashion brands to explore alternative approaches to design and production to contribute to a more sustainable future.” The Sustainability Award’s panel of international judges, which includes the model and sustainability advocate Arizona Muse, has chosen two standout finalists – Marimekko and House of Dagmar – who will both present their collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week, as well as within an immersive virtual experience on the Zalando Greenhouse platform.
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From 1 February, the 360-degree digital showcase will enable guests to engage and interact with each look envisaged by the Finnish and Swedish designers, and explore their personal visions for a sustainable future for both their brands and the wider fashion industry.
With an eco-conscious mindset at its core, Marimekko has always taken sustainability into consideration when creating the bold, colourful and graphic prints it has become known for. The brand’s focus is on reducing emissions in its operations and across its supply chain, and substituting conventional materials for more sustainable choices. “We must all learn to buy less and focus more on product longevity,” says Rebekka Bay, creative director of Marimekko. “And we have the responsibility to create timeless pieces of high quality that are relevant from one season to the next – and one generation to the next.”
Since it was founded in 2005, House of Dagmar has made a conscious decision to work sustainably, too, because, “We have no other choice,” says Karin Söderlind, one of the brand’s CEOs and co-founders. Despite being finalists for the Sustainability Award, House of Dagmar doesn’t see sustainability as a race to the finish, but as a project for all of us. “We really don’t believe you can compete in this matter. But we do see [this award process] as an important way of inspiring other brands and the consumers. It is a way of putting the topic on the agenda.”
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Zalando will announce the winner on 4 February at Copenhagen Fashion Week. The winning designer will receive a cash prize and enter into a partnership with the e-tailer for an exclusive collection. Of course, if you take Söderlind’s word for it, we’re all winners when we work towards a more sustainable future for fashion.
View the collections from the Zalando Sustainability Award finalist collections at Zalandogreenhouse.com.