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Turning words into action at Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 23 May 2018 00:00


  • AOD Sri Lanka launches world’s first ‘Sustainable fashion design and supply chain management program’ to promote a transparent, collaborative and sustainable solution for the professionals and future talent of the global fashion apparel industry

 A total of 1,300 key players from more than 50 countries across the globe representing the fashion sector, politics, NGOs, academia and the media gathered for the sixth edition of the world›s leading annual business event on sustainability. 

The speakers included were from the Danish Crown Princess to Stella McCartney and others like sustainability thought leader David Roberts of Singularity University, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, COO Eric Sprunk of NIKE, CEO Spencer Fung of Li & Fung, Vogue US fashion director Tonne Goodman, sustainability pioneer Dame Ellen MacArthur, models and entrepreneurs Lily Cole and Edie Campbell, the founders of Highsnobiety, Vestiaire Collective, Fashion Revolution, and many more. 

The hosts were Amber Valletta, actress, model and entrepreneur, and Tim Blanks, editor-at-large of The Business of Fashion. It also included leading retailers and discussions featuring the Strategic Partners of Global Fashion Agenda: Kering, H&M, Target, Li & Fung and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, who took the stage to address why sustainability should be a leadership priority and discussed many recommendations.

AOD founder Linda Speldewinde was invited to attend the Copenhagen Fashion Summit by Founder Eva Krouse and speaking about the event itself, she had the following to share.

“This year at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit presented by the Global Fashion Agenda we spoke much about transparency, collaboration, innovations and listening to the voice of the new generation. It was clear that our young generation believed in sustainability but yet, especially in the Western countries, they are so hidden away from the supply chain and the ground reality. To make this paradigm shift we need to bring them to the core of apparel industry again. 

“The program launched by AOD in Sri Lanka will allow these young professionals, undergraduate and grad students to experience and study the entire supply chain at one go, look inside artisan villages, high-tech factories and cottage industries. The program was so well received in Copenhagen that many Design Schools across Europe have agreed to partner and send their students. We have global retailers waiting to send their employees to the professional version of the program. The response was overwhelming and very encouraging.”

The Summit also had the attendance of Nikhil Hirdaramani – apparel industry leader, Director – Hirdaramani Group & VP sustainable Apparel Coalition. Speaking at the event in Copenhagen Nikhil Hirdarmani congratulated AOD and endorsed the need for the program. Nikhil has been the voice for sustainable fashion manufacturing on global platforms of recent times. 

Invited to join the announcement, Hirdaramani stated: “I have always believed that Sri Lanka has many incredible things to share with the world, and our sustainable manufacturing and supply chains are among them. As someone who has been at the helm of the local apparel industry as the fourth generation of one of the country’s largest manufacturers. I am very much looking forward to share our very best with the participants of this unusual course. Hirdaramani’s Mihila factory, which is Asia’s first carbon neutral fashion maker, and many more of the most remarkable sustainable initiatives by Sri Lanka will open their doors to this course because we believe sharing and educating is the only way forward to build a greener world & I congratulate AOD on the endeavour and was happy to join and speak and present the program in Copenhagen.”

Sharing thoughts on the Sri Lankan apparel industry Jonas Eder-Hanson, global fashion influencer of Copenhagen Fashion Summit, mentioned: “I’m always surprised to see the great innovation skills that AOD puts in every year. It’s really giving new insights into the industry for visitors like me. I’m certainly enjoying the entrepreneurial aspects and innovation inputs, and I’m very happy that sustainability is very high up in the agenda.”

On the eve of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Sri Lanka launched a world’s first Sustainable Fashion and Supply Chain Management program presented by AOD that made South Asia part of a solution to sustainability. The program itself is a study program lending greater transparency to connecting and collaborating with Sri Lanka’s sustainable supply chains launched by South Asia’s visionary design education catalyst AOD, parallel to the ongoing global discussions in Copenhagen. 

It was announced amidst a gathering of fashion academia and industry in Copenhagen by AOD founder and Sri Lankan fashion entrepreneur Linda Speldewinde, at the Sri Lankan embassy for Denmark in the presence of its Ambassador.  The program targets MA students and fashion business professionals, and was said to be the first of its kind in the world. Sri Lanka charging ahead to become the first in presenting a solution that bridges industry, traditional craft, design and technological innovation, signifies the country’s commitment to contributing to the global movement towards making fashion more sustainable.

The program is centred on South Asia’s emerging creative hub Sri Lanka, where an extraordinary ecosystem for sustainable fashion exists. The course is to unfold with a series of study experiences that include intimate insights to manufacturing industries, factory visits, workshops with artisans and networking opportunities. It will also facilitate a deeper understanding of Sri Lanka in the attendees through cultural immersion and personal explorations into nature and history. 

The program is especially geared towards fashion, textile and sustainable studies, BA and MA students and fashion business professionals who are looking to broaden their knowledge on sustainable manufacturing and design supply chains. 

The presenter of the program, AOD, has a strong resonance with the global body of sustainable design knowledge and comes with a portfolio of successes in initiating brands, projects and programmes that celebrate sustainability in fashion, such as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka, www.fashionmarket.lk, Sri Lanka Design Festival and the Island Craft Project. 

In 2009, AOD also pioneered thought leadership on sustainable fashion in South Asia, by introducing a bi-annual forum on sustainability. For more information please reach studyabroad@aod.lk or reach AOD on 0775727772.

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