What We Learned At The Legacy Summit For Responsible Fashion

by: Rosie Dalton | 11 months ago | News

Image: behind the scenes at LEGACY. Image source

Last week I went along to the LEGACY Responsible Fashion Summit in Sydney and was inspired by a lot of the conversations that took centre stage over the two-day event. Presented by Ndless:The New Normal in partnership with the Australian Fashion Council and Fashion Revolution Australiathis Summit gathered speakers from all over the world – including Vestiaire Collective Founder Fanny Moizant, CEO of Nudie Jeans Australia Bryce Alton, Kowtow Founder Gosia Piatek and Well Made Clothes co-founder Courtney Sanders.

After digesting all of the keynote speeches and panel conversations presented at LEGACY, I’m rounding up some of my key takeaways from the event – and how they can help shape the future of fashion. Now the challenge will be actually putting these lessons into practice, in order to realise a more responsible fashion industry.

1) Products are becoming more elastic
According to McKinsey & Company Partner Jenny Cermak, the lifespan of fashion products is becoming more elastic. Increasingly, we’re seeing a groundswell of consumers moving away from permanent ownership of clothing. In its place, people are gravitating instead towards pre-owned, refurbished and rental clothing, which is a trend that BoF and McKinsey’s State of Fashion Report predicts will continue to gain traction in future years.

2) Collaboration is key
Together we are better. A lot of the conversations held at LEGACY centred around the importance of collaboration in helping to turn things around industry-wide. Rather than keeping to themselves and guarding trade secrets, brands now need to be sharing information and resources in order to initiate genuine change. One example used here was the partnership that sustainable designer Stella McCartney has launched with luxury consignment store The Real Real.

3) Materials have to become a priority
In her conversation with Vogue Sustainability Editor Clare Press and The Climate Council’s Dr Martin Rice, designer Kit Willow explained that a brand’s greatest cost is usually materials. This accounts for as much as 70% of a label’s costs, which is why she argues that materials are a key starting point for responsible innovation. If more brands can start incorporating sustainable fibres like organic cotton or recycled polyester, then this will ultimately have a cumulative impact.

4) Brands need to stand for something
According to McKinsey & Company, more and more Generation Z consumers want to connect with brands that align with their values. This data comes from McKinsey’s annual collaborative paper, the State of Fashion Report, published in partnership with Business of Fashion. And it proves that, if brands want to appeal to younger consumers moving forward, then they need to stand for something.

5) It’s important to look at the root cause
Yes, younger consumers want to connect with brands that share similar values, but a lot of shoppers aren’t putting their money where their mouths are yet. So, even though we’ve seen some recent shifts in consumption habits – like more people buying vintage – Cermak says we need to address the root cause of these shifts. Which she believes can be attributed to factors like tighter disposable incomes, social media vanity and convenience culture.

So many big ideas and so little time, then. If the LEGACY Summit proved anything, it’s that the time is now to start shaping a more responsible future for fashion.

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