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The Global Fashion Summit has become a key event on the fashion calendar and this year, the Brown Thomas Sustainability Team were in attendance. Here, they break down all you need to know from this year’s event.

Last month, the Global Fashion Summit returned as an in-person event after two years online. Taking place in Copenhagen, the summit brings together key industry leaders to drive forward fashion’s sustainability efforts.

This year’s theme was ‘Alliances for a New Era’, with the goal of marking a new era of collaboration for the fashion industry across all areas of sustainability. The summit was attended by leaders from leading fashion brands from across the globe (think Ganni, Ralph Lauren, Bottega Venetta and Mulberry), together with experts in the fields of the circular economy, responsible sourcing and climate change. Also in attendance was our Brown Thomas Sustainability Team.

From circularity and responsible sourcing to a focus on equality, diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry, here’s our Head of Sustainability, Diana Geraghty’s key takeaways from the Global Fashion Summit 2022.

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The fashion industry needs to transition to a ‘justice-led’ circular economy. This is one that designs products with their second and third life in mind – such an important concept and a refreshing change from the rather outdated concept of a responsible end of life for a garment. Ultimately, a justice-led circular economy means keeping products in circulation for much longer and cutting waste out of our vocabulary, thus reducing our reliance on precious, finite materials.


From the introduction of pre-loved bags and accessories in Arnotts and online in 2020 to the recent launch of Full Circle offering a take-back service of customers’ pre-loved bags, we as a business have been focused on introducing circular models for our customers for quite some time. Most recently, Brown Thomas launched Rent It in our Dundrum store, and have repair services to keep your clothes, bags, shoes and accessories in tip-top condition with Circular Fix. The Restory is also available in-store to provide expert repair, restoration and cleaning services. Click below to read more details on our new circular services.



Choosing sustainable materials and sourcing them sustainably was another key discussion point throughout the summit. There were multiple sessions on the need to focus on materials that are made to last, materials that are sourced with ethical and environmental sustainability as a priority and materials that are durable to ensure that we get longevity from our products which in turn makes them a more sustainable choice.

According to The Or Foundation, 15 million garments are exported to Ghana from the West each week, with 40% of them ending up as landfill waste.

This highlights the need for both industry and consumers to focus on more sustainable materials. Reducing our reliance on virgin raw materials and using more recycled and certified sustainably sourced materials is crucial to tackling the environmental and social issues within the supply chain. This was a particularly interesting topic of discussion with many brands such as Ganni and The Kering Group investing in research and development of alternative more sustainable materials such as mycelium to replace leather.

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At Brown Thomas, we have committed that, by 2025, the priority materials within our business (including cotton, leather, palm oil, down and feather, and cellulosic fibres such as viscose, lyocell and modal) will come from fully certified sustainable and/or recycled sources. The certified standards we will be accepting include organic and recycled as well as sustainably sourced materials and fibres such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which certify sustainable forestry management, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which certifies responsibly sourced palm oil. This means in practice, by the end of 2025, if you are buying a cotton shirt or jeans in Brown Thomas, you will be guaranteed the cotton in that product has been sourced sustainably, in line with industry-leading standards. In addition to this, we are committing, by 2025, that all of our purchased plastic packaging is recyclable, re-usable and/or compostable.

Fungi and mushrooms that grow on the ground have a complex root system that is an infinite interweb of cells. This root system is called mycelium and is being harvested to create a new kind of fabric. This fabric is almost entirely biodegradable and has a leather-like texture.

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The overarching sentiment of the summit was a collective ambition to ACT NOW, to set ambitious targets. A key concept that stuck out for me was that “if you are a little uncomfortable, you are doing it right”. We saw commitment and passion for change in spades at the summit. We now need to see more action, more collaboration and more transparency in the industry and a continued focus on innovating and reinvention to create a more sustainable future for people and planet. The conversations are happening. Supply chains are transforming. It is now key that we continue to collaborate and align as an industry to face up to these sustainability challenges for the good of our people and planet.


Brown Thomas has committed to significantly accelerate our target to achieve net-zero carbon across our business to 2040 by signing the Climate Pledge, alongside the wider Selfridges Group. The Climate Pledge is a cross-sector collaboration co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism to act on the climate emergency 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.


For more easy changes you can make to live more sustainably, check out A Day In The Life Of...Fionnuala Moran.