Director of partnerships and development at non-profit Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), Dana Schou, tells a live audience at last week’s Global Fashion Summit in Boston, fashion’s most important stakeholders today are young people.

She explains GFA’s Next Gen Assembly Manifesto aims to empower and elevate the voices of academia and young creatives from around the world: “It’s about accelerating impact and advocating for the future of fashion practitioners and professionals.”

During the Next Gen Assembly Manifesto session the young fashion professionals reveal how and why the fashion sector needs to inspire real change.

Sanjana Pimoli, assistant manager, communications and sustainability innovations at Indian manufacturing company, Shahi Exports states: “Sustainability initiatives in the textile industry are still trying to fit into the business model made decades ago that focuses on short-term profits.”

She argues that circular fashion and sustainable systems are pathways to progress and the system needs to evolve.

Model and young EU climate pact ambassador Clara Tomé agrees and shares the collective is keen to encourage stakeholders to look at fashion from a regenerative lens for people and planet.

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She says: “This transformation begins with a shift in our mindsets towards giving back to nature and the earth which has generously given to us for all this time.”

Kaja Grujic, brand marketing assistant at clothing alterations and repairs company SOJO is also confident the young collective’s diverse voices will help to push the fashion industry towards being net positive.

London College of Fashion MA student, Prakriti Choubey, believes the Next Gen Manifesto group can help to turn ambition into action. She notes: “Rather than working in silos our collective represents an interdisciplinary and global understanding of the industry from supply chains to material innovations to how we can communicate with the public.”

The young fashion cohort explains the ultimate aim is to use storytelling to make sustainability in fashion tangible, visible and experimental and as the next generation they want to be part of the decision-making that is shaping the sector’s future.

For example, following the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen in May the group is now working with the New York State Assembly.

Fashion and textiles designer Indira Varma adds: “By tapping into different mediums such as creative storytelling, new business case studies and policy mandates we aim to create the change we want to see in the fashion industry.”

A separate Global Fashion Summit discussion revealed climate change will cost the fashion industry $65bn by 2030, but if public benefit and private profit don’t align, fashion companies won’t do what’s needed to tackle sustainability.