Students reach new heights at global fashion summit

Three students from the School of Fashion and Textiles were selected to participate in the 2018 Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen.

Participants at the 2018 Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen brainstorming ideas

This is the first time students from Australia have been selected to attend the Summit, with only 112 students worldwide invited to participate.

The Youth Summit precedes the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world’s largest conference on sustainability in fashion.

Final year Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) students Amanda Morgan and Julia English, and final year Master of Fashion (Entrepreneurship) student Lisa Kjerulf were the three attendees selected from the School of Fashion and Textiles.

The Summit aims to engage with future decision makers who will shape the industry, while giving participating students access to CEOs, top designers, politicians, NGOs and other key industry decision makers.

Guest speakers included Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and fashion royalty Stella McCartney.

Student Amanda Morgan said the Summit provided a unique opportunity to meet likeminded students and engage with key industry contacts.

“I was thrilled that we had a direct platform to speak to influential players in the global supply chain about reforming business models to support a less wasteful and damaging use of resources.”

In partnership with the United Nations (UN) and Pandora, the program is designed to create a framework for key stakeholders in the fashion industry to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Students were divided into 8 teams and given a specific UN Sustainable Development Goal to focus on as part of a two-year sustainability program.

The program focussed around webinars that provided participants with a range of approaches, tools and practical examples to brainstorm future scenarios and demands based on their assigned sustainable development goal. 

Since the first Youth Fashion Summit took place in Copenhagen in 2012, it has become a hugely successful annual event, engaging the future of fashion to work towards a more sustainable industry.

Each team’s efforts culminated at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, where they were given the opportunity to present their findings to key decision makers in the fashion industry.

In 2019, the same group of students involved in the program will be invited back to the Summit to transform their demands into corporate action in collaboration with international fashion companies.

Dean of School, Fashion and Textiles, Professor Robyn Healy also attended the Summit, invited to participate in the Global Fashion Agenda Leadership Roundtable, “Convening the Fashion Education System” with participants from education, industry and government.

The discussion focussed on developing a new, visionary education system with sustainability at its core, considering how education and industry work together in transforming fashion.

“I came away from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit excited by the opportunities for RMIT in sharing and expanding our knowledge and applications in areas of closed loop systems, sustainable materials mix, instant fashion and industry 4.0,” Professor Healy said.

The School of Fashion and Textiles is now working on organising its own Youth Summit, featuring presentations from the participating students and looking at ways to incorporate sustainability throughout the university.

Story: Kiri Delly 

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