The Decoded Future London Summit : Highlights

Sustainability, a circular economy, and transparency were among the key topics discussed earlier this month at the Decoded Future London summit. Held at County Hall in association with Stylus, a global trends intelligence company, the one-day event brought together executives from various companies in beauty, fashion, hospitality, and technology..

Fashion, beauty and business writer: Lorelei Marfil: highlighted the points in  the www.forbes.com

9 Key Takeaways From The Decoded Future London Summit

Here’s a roundup of key issues addressed at the event.

1. The fashion industry, consumers and the government, need to do more.

Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield & Chair, Environmental Audit Committee said “We as consumers can’t allow fashion companies to hide behind their supply chain… I want fashion to set out its blueprint for a net zero emissions world.”

2. Brands and designers should learn about circularity and sustainable design.

Jane Robson Blanchard, owner of JRB Global Fashion Solutions said “The problem we have in the fashion industry is we have never been circular. We have this linear model. What we need to do is make it into this circular environment where we start with the design process. We need designers to be educated in the correct way. At the moment, we have very, very limited knowledge in our design schools of circularity and of sustainable design and that needs to change. And obviously, a lot of the designers we have at the moment have never been educated in it. This is a new way of thinking. We need to take the product from design and concept and think about the total life cycle from the consumer journey to the end of life and product reuse or recycle. There’s a lot of work to be done in this area.”

3. Prioritize the planet before profits.

Jane Robson Blanchard, owner of JRB Global Fashion Solutions said “If the top doesn’t listen, then Gen X will come through and start demanding it. The next generation is way more demanding. They will push upwards and will ask all these questions. The companies that don’t respond won’t survive. We can see big retailers fall very fast and there will be pressure from the bottom. So I would suggest to any top CEO of any big company that you need to listen now because you have to prioritize the planet before your profit. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to have a business in the long-term. Investors and shareholders will start demanding it as well.”

4. Consumers are spending money on experiences over material items.

Hayley Ward, head of Insight Partnerships at Marks & Spencer said “People are prioritizing experiences over things; they’ve become part of our identity. We’re not our possessions, but the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Experiences make us happy. We’re being told more – see the books of Marie Kondo – that we don’t need lots of stuff. Actually, what we need is to declutter and have only the things that really bring us joy. Consumers are prioritizing their wellbeing more than ever.”

5. Small brands can build a more sustainable strategy by creating and following through on strong guidelines.

Miles Johnson, former creative director of product design and development at Patagonia said “It’s an amazing education to have worked for that company. You realize when you’re involved with it and embedded into it. They have made a lot of money by not letting making money become the complete focus. They have so many strong beliefs. They have done things on a common sense approach to business and wholeheartedly care about the environment. They have given great guidelines to their employees in the way of a mission statement: ‘We are in business to save our home planet.’ You know that everything you do as an employee it’s a mantra.”

6. Buyers and designers need to be more thorough and ask for certifications and proof from factories and mills.

Rosey Cortazzi, global marketing director at Isko said “I worked for some of the world’s leading brands before Isko and I can hand on heart say that I was trying to do the right thing but I was confused and bamboozled by all this stuff. I was doing certain things like buying certified fiber. I thought I was doing really well, I’m buying organic cotton but I wasn’t thinking about the whole process end to end. So that organic cotton could have been made by people not getting paid a living wage and could have been doing awful things with the chemicals and the emissions. So I wasn’t thinking about the whole process. Everything we do at Isko is verified by a third party so we don’t just say something. So don’t be afraid to ask and visit a factory or a mill for the proof. Go and visit and ask questions. Poke your nose in. Ask for the certifications and ask for proof. Because lots of people are saying things but that may not be the case.”

7. The mindset of owning items has shifted for Gen Z and the Millennial set and ownership is not where it used to be.

Clara Chappaz, chief growth officer at Vestiaire Collective said “Social has pushed resale. This idea of wearing something fresh and being able to share your style and change it on social and was also a driving factor of the boom on resale. It goes along the shifting mindset of the younger generation: Gen Z or the Millennials, where ownership is not where it used to be for the older generation and people are trying to invest in experiences or anything they can share with friends rather than owning things. Resale is a good way to answer this because you can buy and resell. I think around 20 percent of people on Vestiaire buy then resell the products they bought. So you can really see the circularity and the idea that you don’t really need to own thing forever anymore. Because you want to keep fresh be on trend and you care more and more about sustainability and you want to be cautious of your behavior.”

8. Transparency is key.

Katy Lubin, vice president of communications at Lyst said “I think in terms of making real change for customers, something that would be super valuable is super transparency and alignment across the industry in how we describe products. So when we find people searching for more sustainable-minded stuff we group terms together like circular, sustainable conscious, responsible and ethical. What is the difference for the customer and how can you pull those stuff out and make it clear would be a powerful step.”

9. Sharing information is helpful for creating change.

Katy Lubin, vice president of communications at Lyst said “As a fashion industry, we don’t work together on many things. It’s not like an open sourced tech community where we are sharing knowledge and insights and learning so I think a big step there would be to come together to make positive change.”

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