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September 2 2014

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The Nordic Fashion Association Has A NICE Idea

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Hopenhagen, a.k.a. Copenhagen, isn’t hosting just the United Nations Climate Summit this week. Yesterday, the Nordic Fashion Association held a summit of its own in Denmark’s capital. Featuring lectures, networking, and locally sourced cuisine (herring, anyone?), the day closed with a runway show of sustainable fashions by 20 emerging designers, four each from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, the countries that together form the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical. The $10,000 prize, sponsored by H&M, was presented by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark to Saara Lepokorpi. The Finnish designer’s astronomy-inspired Supermassive project, which featured two dresses and a printed and treated jersey jacket that looked like leather, was, refreshingly, chic rather than crunchy.

Among the event’s speakers were PPR’s Laurent Claquin, Edun’s Christian Kemp-Griffin, and the Financial Times‘ Vanessa Friedman. Barneys New York’s Julie Gilhart made a surprising admission during her speech: She almost quit the “wasteful and money-driven” world of fashion. What convinced her to stick with it? A call to action from none other than the Dalai Lama, with whom Gilhart had an audience, and who encouraged her to—among other things—preserve culture and create beauty. “Making the decision that this [issue] is important” is the first step, said Gilhart, who believes that “sustainability is the new creativity.” It will take artistry and cooperation, the fashion summit made clear, to change the fashion industry. NICE work if you can get it, eh?

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Dept. of Culture