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Legislation, AI and the Ganni playbook: 10 takeaways from the Super Bowl of sustainable fashion

The industry is not changing as quickly as it needs to, but at the Global Fashion Summit last week, there were innovative ideas as well as a few good news stories

According to Dayana Molina, an activist and Indigenous designer at fashion brand Nalimo, it is a first step to “push forward to make fashion that is cooperative, collaborative and fair”.

On a separate panel, Naiomi Glasses, a seventh-generation Diné (Navajo) textile artist and designer who collaborated with Polo Ralph Lauren on a collection, said she would like to see “more brands embrace telling more stories like mine … The power of collaboration is really beautiful because there are so many stories embedded in craft and it lets us show how Indigenous cultures are still here and still thriving.”

9. Another next-gen material is here to rival synthetics

More than $500m was invested in next-gen materials in 2023. From mushroom leather to spider silk and viscose made from coconut water, innovations in the material space are often heralded as the future of fashion. But the challenges of producing them en masse at a competitive price often come as a cold shock to innovators. Nevertheless, there is a new kid on the block. New York-based Bloom Labs is making materials that feel like cotton and silk while being as functional as polyester, all from protein-rich biomass waste, including pre-consumer discarded wool and upcycled down from the bedding industry.

10. Fashion must lead or be led

“Nobody in their right minds would design a system like this,” said former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, of the fashion industry’s take, make, waste model. He described making fashion sustainable as “the biggest business opportunity of the century”, rounding off his keynote speech with a line that would be repeated by speakers on many panels to come: lead or be led.

This article was amended on 30 May 2024 to correct the name of the representative from the Cambodian workforce. It was Athit Kong, not Adil Rehman as a previous version said.

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