The package was presented by the EFA at the first summit in Gran Canaria this week where the aim was to discuss and agree on measures and actions that can support and promote the necessary transformation process in the fashion industry in Europe.
The alliance, which consists of 29 member organisations, including numerous fashion councils, fashion weeks, research and educational institutions, represents more than 10,000 European companies in the fashion sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to large corporations.
One of the main topics during the meeting was the ‘Green Deal’ formulated by the European Union in 2019 by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050, to which the fashion industry must also urgently contribute, according to the commitment of the EFA. Because the CO₂- and environmentally destructive footprint from textile production and fashion consumption is still huge.
The European Fashion Alliance aims to contribute significantly to achieving a CO₂-neutral, environmentally sustainable, non-toxic and completely circular textile industry and to raise and sensitise the awareness of fashion producers, designers and consumers.
To this end, four pillars on which the targeted measures are to be based were defined during the meeting in Gran Canaria: sustainability, education, politics and innovation.
The European Fashion Alliance believes that sustainability and digital transformation, together with innovation, education and labour market measures, will be the drivers for the fashion industry to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable. To accelerate this transition process, EFA will therefore also focus on the cross-cultural exchanges and interactions between creatives and support young talents as drivers of change through actions, research and campaigning.
Caroline Rush, CEO, British Fashion Council says: “With common values and language and common understanding of measurement tools, it is important for our designers that when they go into France, Italy, Germany or Denmark or anywhere else, that they have a good and common understanding of the framework that is expected from them in terms of sustainability. In particular for small businesses that find it really challenging in terms of trading globally. The more we are asking them to look at the different measurements and standards, the more difficult it is for them to be able to trade. This is an opportunity to collaborate and break down those barriers.”
For the period from 2023 to 2027, the European Fashion Alliance translates this belief into four main objectives based on the four defined pillars:
1. Definition of an ethical, social and sustainable code of conduct for EFA members and by extension for the fashion industry.
2. A new Green Deal for fashion at European level representing fashion culture and business, founded on a European-based circular and social fashion eco-system based on shared data and a shared measurement data system.
3. Creation and enforcing of sustainable and technological training and social & cultural responsibility practices for EFA key stakeholders.
4. Empowerment of Generation Z and the new generations as leading forces of value in digital, circular and social transition of the fashion industry
The members agree that the vision and objectives of the EFA must be translated into concrete action plans and policy frameworks within the next two to three years to drive change. This can only be achieved with a solid understanding of the needs and challenges of the fashion industry, especially the creative and design-oriented stakeholders.
Scott Lipinski, CEO, Fashion Council Germany adds: “The European Fashion Alliance is an important and strong network which – like no other – can make its contribution to changing the European fashion industry. Change doesn’t happen alone. It’s an industry interaction and that’s what EFA is. We have created an instrument that will prove itself in the years to come.”
For 2023, EFA will therefore launch a Europe-wide survey through its members to investigate the needs and challenges of micro, small, medium and large enterprises operating in the fashion and textile industry, as well as education and research-oriented and other industry-related stakeholders.
The knowledge gained from this should enable EFA to create a priority-driven policy framework in response to the current legislation resulting from, amongst others, the European Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles and the creation of new EU policies and programs to support fashion and creative industries. The aim is to give stakeholders a better understanding of European legislation – an area in which many creative entrepreneurs are still “lost in translation”.
Christiane Arp, chairwoman of the Fashion Council Germany says: “Fashion has to evolve in the cultural and social context to stay relevant. One of the tasks of the Fashion Councils is to promote and support a new generation of designers. The young creative people have the ability to change the fashion system sustainably and innovatively.”
Moreover, EFA says it will involve and empower young talents and voices by actively engaging them in leadership roles and activities within the organisation alongside established brands and organisations. Maria Luisa Martinez Diez, Global Fashion Agenda, said: “Traditionally, many of the industry’s efforts have been voluntary, but proposed regulations are set to change this. As part of the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, there are two crucial initiatives that will impact textiles: the Proposal for a Directive on empowering consumers for the green transition, expected to ensure consumers can make environmentally friendly decisions when buying products; and the ESPR (Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation), which will promote more sustainable product design and make sustainable products the norm.”
Earlier this week, some 300 textile industry plants in the European Union were told they will need to comply with new legal norms adopted under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive to reduce their environmental impact.