Change and the Evolving Industry of Fashion:
On the ‘eve’ of Mother’s Day and International Earth Day, an opportunity exists to reflect on the state of our world in terms of fashion and change. Pause, remember “Think globally, act locally“.
I notice a global rising of awakened consciousness to aid Mother Earth. Albeit forced, a result of quieting our earthly activities, we have allowed her ‘ a breather’, and it has proven quite fruitful in cleaning up a bit of our rubbish — metaphorically, in lack of attention, and literally in our actual environments.
Daily changes – whether it is a simple change in responsibilities, a time or weather change affecting the most carefully laid plans, or a simple change in opinion. Change affects everyone and each deals differently with change. The current years are forcing unprecedented change, some feeling invasive, threatening, overwhelming and unwelcome while others are presenting opportunities – clearly energising an impulse to be better stewards of our planet.
And moreover, there exists a general understanding or experience that change on grand scales is possible. A historical aside, in acting locally, I in solidarity, proudly commend the consciousness of my Alma Mater as 8 May, the eve of U.S. Mother’s Day, UC Davis will celebrate the 50th year of Whole Earth Day. It is a guarantee that all mothers want a safe, clean planet on which their children will thrive. Additionally, 22 April is the annual celebration of International Earth Day.
We have seen that the fundamental business principle, the quest for profit as a solitary and primary outcome, has proven destructive on many levels among which are the detrimental effects of poisoning the planet, disregarding protection of natural resources, as well as diminishing workers’ rights, spirits, and talents. Thanks to COVID-19, not only the earth has taken advantage to reclaim her pristine magnificence. Putting the brakes on frenzied busyness, people also have had opportunities to pause and reflect on the order of life priorities. And just possibly, perhaps be more open to a greater understanding of the underlying realities that humans are humans – more alike than different to one another.
Change, be it slow or instantaneous, is the river of life itself. We can flow as it goes or we can become stuck in an eddy. Anne’s research furthered important insights into an industry undergoing a radical and important change and brings to us some inspiring examples of success. Perhaps even a greater sense of hope and even an inclination to offer our own services in some greater manner.
It has been observed for centuries that, as the Greek philosopher said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” ~ Heraclitus (535 BCE – 475 BCE 5th Century, Ephesus).
Who’s Next IMPACT Sustainable Fashion & the Designers That Make It Happen:
The Heart as Leader – Anne Jørgensen
I am pleased to present Anne Jørgensen, ‘Une Danoise a Paris’ – a Danish Woman in Paris. As Ambassador of Njord Creations introduces innovative examples of successful change in business practices that directly or indirectly affect us all. Anne found her purpose for a new career in Denmark, and it led her to a new life in Paris. Anne united with young designers, leaders of sustainable fashion brands, who have incorporated fresh ideas larger than themselves, regarding commitment to innovating substantial changes in the fashion industry. Obviously, businesses need profit. Sustainability is a growing trend in fashion businesses and these enterprises set priorities for environmental and human values as well as the search for superior quality and affordability beyond the sole pursuit of profit.
Bonjour Anne, how did you come to the decision to leave your home country to live in France?
“Paris and France have always been in my heart. I first discovered Paris when I worked as an au pair many years ago and continued to study French at university in Denmark.“
Do you think it was an intuitive prompt?
“It came apparent that I felt the need for change in my personal and professional life. In thinking about my next step in life, I went to Paris one summer to enjoy my hobby: photography. It was instantly clear that I wanted to move to Paris.”
How was it that you began to plan for the reality of such a move?
“I knew I had to have a project that would give me the professional challenges I needed and provide my reason for entry into French culture. Like any other Danish woman I enjoy fashion, both the art and the industry, as well as exploring ever-changing seasonal trends. I thought of it as a veritable haven of discovery waiting for me in Paris!”
“It was precisely in preparing for my relocation that a sudden awakening of the immense environmental and human consequences caused by the textile industry, a significant economic sector driven principally by profit, abruptly conflicted with my seasonal shopping joy! The current sustainability debate in Denmark denounced my reverie, yet at the same time it shone a light directly onto my purpose!”
“These alarming discoveries, such as it takes 20,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans, pointed me toward a change in my own habits. I began earnest research into sustainable fashion. My research led me to discover an industry undergoing a radical and important change. I quickly deduced that I wanted to represent sustainable fashion brands from Scandinavia in France, and many pieces fell into place.”
“As a devotee of Nature and an already strong proponent of conscious caring for our human home, ‘Mother Earth’, the sustainability debate illuminated my thinking about the fashion industry itself and inherently flowed forward, exposing brilliant solutions to support sustainability in fashion brands. It was a monumental inspiration and a natural fit for me to merge heartfelt attractions into my new life.”
What coping strategies do you use to help you manage unexpected life changes?
“Although my journey is fresh, landing into change with the COVID -19 world has proved to be a real adventure. My highlight has been meeting strongly committed and inspiring French and Danish fashion professionals who have expressed their genuine interest, openness and willingness to collaborate for common goals in the industry. This encouragement has infused even more enthusiasm for me to contribute to the successful transformation of the fashion industry.”
Who’s Next Impact, the International Trade Show Leader for Women’s Fashion in Europe:
Four of the most innovative and sustainable Danish fashion brands in France, each one making its own important impact on fashion and in the industry as a whole:
Designer Stine Sandermann has successfully reintroduced the use of Danish wool, a natural and local material, that otherwise would have been discarded as a waste product. she has direct contact with the sheep contributors to her designs and knows some of them by name. Sandermann’s daring and playful designs, worthy of the international fashion scene, exemplify the authentic statement of sustainability brought to life by this true pioneer.
Tina Søgaard-Pedersen perfectly and powerfully introduces unprecedented originality and quality into a sportswear brand mainly repurposed from recycled ocean waste. Her fundamental ingenuity emerging from materials such as discarded fishing nets and old carpets is stunning. The brand has a zero-waste policy as ‘cut-off’ from the production and worn-out returned sportswear creates new yoga mats.
The couple behind the happy and playful brand Gritt & Borrisl reserves a special love for vibrant colours and prints inspired by nature. An impeccable focus and unyielding strategy establishes the principal and closely guarded collaboration with their Indian suppliers who share the same ethical and environmental values and standards. Exemplifying the importance of these relationships, the couple made the decision to move to Asia in order to be near and to assure the authenticity and quality of the relationships with their suppliers.
The founder, Marie Schulz, collaborates with a like-minded group of new and talented designers that sanction their designs with intricate details proving value as perfectly sophisticated, timeless and sustainable fashion is far from boring.
Thank you to all these designers that are making a difference, and “bon courage!” Our earth needs all the helpers we can find these days.
In summary, the transitions from “fast fashion” to “slow fashion” encase the sense of the fast pace of production and goals of endless ready-to-wear collections that exhaust natural resources due to overproduction, with the sense of appreciation employed in a slow and ‘conscious’ production, on a smaller scale with a narrow focus on better quality, long-lasting clothing being produced with respect for not only the environment but also workers in the chain of production and delivery. Furthermore, it supports a fashion model that encourages consumers to buy less and chose well.
Change is a normal part of life.
Insights and perspectives accompany opportunities for new appreciations, new directions.
Embrace change as an opportunity for continuous renewal and growth.
Circumstances of change do not dictate how life will go.
How we embrace change will impact how we are able to live.
Choose how to handle change and/or disruptions.
Participate; be inspired. Like Rosie, “We can do it!”
What do we want to create? A suggestion… perhaps Eudaimonia?