Words by Abi Scaife
The fact that the fashion industry is closely linked to the climate crisis is no secret. But organisations are working to transform it for the better. In fact, Smiley News has written about many positive initiatives making fashion more eco-friendly.
One of the biggest names in the game is Global Fashion Agenda (GFA). This non-profit encourages brands to collaborate for positive impacts - to create a fashion industry that is benefiting the planet, rather than taking from it.
Smiley News caught up with Christina Iskov, the Head of Innovation and Academy at GFA. In the runup to their Global Fashion Summit, she explained the sustainable fashion event of which Smiley is a sponsor.
Christina oversees the Innovation Forum, the GFA Designer Challenge, Masterclasses, Next Gen Assembly and all education and innovation-related activities within GFA.
“Global Fashion Agenda is a non-profit organisation on a mission to accelerate impact in the fashion industry by inspiring, educating, influencing, and mobilising all stakeholders,” explains Christina. “Our ultimate vision is to reach a net-positive fashion industry for people and the planet that puts back more into society, the environment, and the global economy than it takes out.”
GFA takes a multi-pronged approach to making the fashion world more sustainable. As well as partnering with brands like Ralph Lauren, ASOS, Puma and more, GFA focuses on arguably the most important avenue for lasting change - policy.
GFA works tirelessly to collect and analyse data about the fashion industry. They produce reports which not only encourage some of fashion’s leading brands to evolve, but also support the need for policy shifts.
“Global Fashion Agenda strives to achieve positive change by accelerating measurable impact in the fashion industry through collaborative commitments, impact programmes, thought leadership publications, events (Global Fashion Summit amongst others) and policy engagement,” explains Christina. “Sustainability targets are in place, yet fashion is not on track to meet them, and we therefore need to focus on proven solutions and aligned global pathways.”
GFA’s Global Fashion Summit is the place to be for fashion brands who truly care about making a difference. The theme for this year is ‘Ambition to Action’; to motivate shareholders, leaders and those in a position of influence to commit to positive change - and to decide together what must be done to meet sustainability goals.
“Truly embodying Ambition to Action requires a unanimous mindset shift from leaders,” says Christina. “The industry is faced with not only a great responsibility but also an incredible opportunity to subvert its current path by putting back more into society, the environment and the global economy than it takes out. We hope that the Summit will bring not only inspiration on how to act but imprinting the necessity of action NOW.”
Just because it’s an ambitious goal that doesn’t make it impossible - and that we shouldn’t be striving towards success. The fashion industry is responsible for 2-8% of global CO2 emissions, and uses approximately 215 trillion litres of water every year. If we can do anything to lower those numbers even by a little, we are well on our way to making great strides - and that’s what GFA and their Global Fashion Summit are all about.
“Showing people and brands how to act, if its consumers are providing them with methods to further the longevity of their clothes, how to repair and reinvent them. For brands, guiding and showing them responsible solution providers like the ones we have in our Innovation Forum. If you do not know where to start, always start by looking at your materials!” says Christina.
GFA Designer Challenge 2023 presented by Smiley is an initiative following exceptional Creative Directors and their sustainable design processes from original idea to final product: matching style and ingenuity with supercharged tech solutions. For inspiration and guidance go watch the videos here.
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Fashion Revolution. This is a charity campaigning passionately for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry. Learn more here.
Remake. A global non-profit advocacy organisation fighting for fair pay and climate justice in the clothing industry. Find out more here.
Global Fashion Agenda. This is a non-profit accelerating impact to create a net-positive fashion industry. Support them here.