Sustainable textile and apparel production will take centre stage in Milan later this year as Textile Exchange and Switzerland-based Bluesign Technologies collaborate to deliver back-to-back conferences.

Due to run over the course of five days, the conferences will see brands and retailers convene to discuss the most important sustainability challenges facing the apparel sector. 

As a result of the partnership, Bluesign’s fifth biannual conference will run from 18-19 October at the Cavallerizze, part of Milan’s recently renovated Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia. The Switzerland-based service company provides the global Bluesign system that ensure materials used in textile and apparel manufacturing processes are safe for consumers, workers and the environment. This year’s conference theme is ‘TraceAbility. NetworkAbility. TransformAbility.: Stitching the blue way together.’

Immediately after, from 22-24 October, Textile Exchange – the global non-profit that promotes the adoption of preferred fibres and materials, integrity and standards, as well as responsible supply networks – will hold its annual Textile Sustainability Conference at the Milano Congressi (MiCo), one of Europe’s largest convention centres. Its theme is ‘United by Action: Accelerating Sustainability in Textiles and Fashion’.

“Textile Exchange recognises the importance of collaboration in order to accelerate sustainability in fashion, and this year’s conference is noteworthy for highlighting collaborative initiatives transforming our industry in more sustainable ways,” says managing director LaRhea Pepper. “We offer content for every level of expertise and every role in the value chain – from our Basics Day to our Round Tables and Working Groups to our more expert plenaries and breakout sessions.”

Simonetta Carbonaro, consumer psychologist as well as trade and consumer industry visionary, will open the Bluesign conference by highlighting the great challenge posed by transformation and why transparency matters in today’s society along with its connection to responsible industry. In addition, non-textile case studies will provide insights beyond the industry in an effort to gather new ideas while supporting common ones.

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Traceability and the need for transformation will also be addressed. A high-level discussion will explore finance in sustainability and additional topics important to a CEO’s agenda while proving the business case of sustainability to re-design today’s business models. Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the International Trade Centre, Simone Cipriani, will present a closing keynote speech on how ethical fashion can be achieved in the most challenging locations. 

Also featuring high-level discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals, fiber and materials, circularity, micro-plastics, water and sustainability in the luxury sector, Textile Exchange’s Textile Sustainability Conference is expected to attract more than 500 attendees from across the industry.

The conference – designed for professionals in CSR, sourcing and supply chains, product and business development and design, education and advocacy – offers opportunities to learn about real sustainability solutions that drive change through the value chain and shape the industry’s future.