The Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks 2021 took place on the 11th of February 2021. The virtual event featured chats between designers, CEO’s, and journalists. The dialogues contained essential information and advice, ranging from topics of diversity to sustainability.

Highlights From Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks 2021

Hindou Ibrahim, the SDG advocate of the United Nations Secretary General, opened the day with a fascinating focus on the waste created by fast fashion and the fashion industry’s larger impacts on the world. Hindou focussed on the necessity of brands and the industry to reduce their carbon footprint. He pointed out that consumers bear some responsibility too; many of us change our jeans every two months or less.

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Dana Thomas spoke about  the waste fashion creates and its impact on the environment. Brands do not look at supply and demand needs meaning they over produce clothes which causes waste. 20% of clothes go unsold which translates to 14 million tons of clothing waste.

Furthermore, according to Thomas, when clothing is made certain microfibers are released into the air. These microfibers go into oceans which are then consumed by fish. When we catch and eat fish it is likely that we are consuming harmful fibers as well. 

Veronica Chou the founder and CEO of Everybody & Everyone spoke about her brand’s sustainability efforts. The company is completely eco-friendly, even when it comes to packaging and small details like buttons. Chou acknowledged that while it is 10 to 20 percent more expensive for a brand to be sustainable, sustainability is an important aspect of their company-consumer relationship.

According to Chou, it is much easier for a brand to start off as a sustainable business model rather than transitioning into it. When big brands try to move towards sustainable production, this can affect the relationship with the manufacturers and consumers as well as impacting costs. 

Within the same panel, Gary Wassner the CEO of Hilldun Corporation also emphasized the unnecessary  waste fashion creates. As Wassner detailed, clothing is shipped in poly bags on plastic hangers. Hangers and bags are frequently thrown out once they reach the store or when the clothing is purchased. This creates pointless plastic waste. 

Donna Karan, fashion icon known for DKNY and Urban Zen spoke about what fashion means to her. Karan focused on the dressing experience. Shopping often involves trying on the latest trends in the dressing room while bonding with others and talking about life problems. Karan sees this an incredibly rewarding aspect of fashion.

The day concluded with Steve Madden who spoke about the key to his success. “Well for me the key to my success was speed to market, at the time no one else was paying attention to that in the shoe business.” Madden continued to speak about how his relates to his tracking of trends in the fashion industry. Madden makes sure to incorporate the latest trends into his brand.

Pitch Sessions at Fashininnovation

The day included a pitch session which gave new companies the opportunity to put forth ideas to a panel of judges. 

Wilson Griffin was first up. Griffin is the co-founder and COO of Recurate. Recurate allows for resale of items directly on the website the item was purchased from. This creates a consumer-to-consumer selling dynamic that keeps consistency within the resale world. The panel received the pitch positively. 

Next up was Valentine Aseyo, the maker of Matador Meggings. The brand sells leggings for men. It provides pockets, towel or shirt strap holder and even the perfect amount of padding in the front so the leggings aren’t too revealing. The panelists commented on the commendable sales numbers and emphasized the need to track the development of the brand due to its reliance on social media. 

David Freidrichs, co-founder and CEO of Cerqular, presented his business as a  hub for shopping and finding sustainable brands. The judges questioned the framework Cerqular uses to determine and approve the sustainability and legitimacy of brands. 

Alex Ciorapciu, the co-founder and CEO of Autoretouch pitched his online retouching business. In their feedback, the judges commented on expanding the customer base beyond companies who need to retouch their images as well as strategies for convincing small businesses to spend money on the website. 

Last pitch of the day was by Simone Lewis, the founder Barelastics. The company helps consumers with styling their off-shoulder tops. This prevents the sleeves from popping up while wearing an off-shoulder top. The panelists praised the fact that Barelastics identifies and fills a gap in the market.