#FashionTech4Good - CoGo X London Tech Week

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Highlights from our ‘Fashion Meets Tech: How Innovation is Creating Sustainability in Fashion’ event at our H.Q., Google Campus for Start-Ups.

In celebration of London Tech Week, we hosted our #FashionTech4Good event that examined how innovation is creating sustainability in fashion that ‘doesn’t cost the earth.’

The event looked at the trends, ideas and tech that is creating beautiful and ethical fashion that is winning over conscious customers and both changing and challenging the way that businesses operate in the sector.

After welcoming remarks from Google and CoGo, the evening unfolded with a fireside chat moderated by Helen Brocklebank, CEO of Walpole with sustainable fashion hero and celebrated ‘Ecoture’ designer Deborah Milner and Contributing editor Harriet Quick.

The second panel focused on the innovation that is shaping a more sustainable future in fashion. Moderated by Nina Morenzi from the Sustainable Angle, the discussion included entrepreneurs Laura Chavez, founder of Lark & Berry; Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger; Kresse Wessling, Co-founder of Elvis & Kresse; Kirsty Emery, Co-Founder, Unmade; and Yossi Goldsmith, MD of CoGo.

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“When it comes to sustainability in fashion, progress has been very, very slow,” said Kresse Wesling. “To revolutionise this industry we have to use morality as our guided principle.”

Some key takeaways from the discussions:

1. Sustainability must be prioritised. Fashion brands must be committed to making changes and to focus on the environmental impact of everything they make. Governments must also enact meaningful legislation so businesses are held to account for their practices.

2. Be transparent about your sustainability credentials. Businesses should aspire to share their sustainability practices with everyone – including competitors. We should all be on the same page when it comes to sustainability. This shouldn’t be a brands’ unique selling point – it should be the minimum requirement for launching a fashion brand.

3. Education is key to changing consumer behaviour. The more people are made aware of the environmental impact of the fashion, the more conscious they will become as consumers. Give people the power of knowledge to make the best decisions possible for the future of the planet and they will act on it – and business will also change their models to connect with their consumers.

Some memorable quotes from the evening:

“When it comes to sustainability in fashion, progress has been very, very slow,” said Kresse Wesling. “To revolutionise this industry we have to use morality as our guided principle.”

“We shouldn’t forget the urgency of what we are debating, we only have 10 years to save the environment, ” said Nina Marenzi, founder of the Sustainable Angle.

“I wanted sustainability to be part of the DNA of what I produced. I cared about the environment and how fabrics were made. Silk worms won’t eat from mulberry bushes that are sprayed with pesticides; dyes pollute rivers and impact communities. I wanted to create beautiful pieces that didn’t impact the environment in this way.” – Deborah Milner, Ecoture Designer

“Consumers are asking questions – that pressure will highlight what’s important to brands,”  - Harriet Quick, Contributing Editor, Vogue.

“Brands must be committed to making changes; Transparency is key” – Deborah Milner

“Given the environmental impact of mining why isn’t everyone doing this?” - Laura Chavez, CEO, Lark & Berry, in reference to her business of growing diamonds in a lab.

“It’s time to remove ourselves from mass consumption and production to fashion driven by demand. Customisation is a big drive - Nike has done it very successfully. Brands can be more flexible than they think.”  - Kirsty Emery, CEO, Unmade

“Spending is on the up – consumption is going up – ethical consumerism should be at the core of our decision-making process. We need to explain why fast fashion is bad,” – Yossi Goldsmith  

“Accountability is key to forcing businesses to be more environmentally conscious. Labelling is a good idea– what if one brave soul came up with a label that showed how much was taken away from the environment to produce something.  How much water, how much life was used...” - Leanne Kemp, CEO, Everledger

“It IS  possible to save the planet and be a successful business. We have doubled in growth every year. The world decided to meet us where we decided to grow.- Kresse Wessling


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Panel 1

Deborah Milner

Harriet Quick

Helen Brocklebank

Leonie Jarrett