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Open Perspectives event – fashioning the future and shaping solutions together

On a sunny April morning in New York, a diverse group of industry leaders, sustainability advocates and visionaries gathered at Open Perspectives. This event aimed to tackle the pressing challenges and explore the transformative opportunities in the textile and fashion industry.

Short film with highlights, watch the entire programme on YouTube, see link further down.
  • Open Perspectives event gathers industry leaders and visionaries to address challenges and opportunities in the textile and fashion industry.
  • Key themes include the journey from resistance to readiness for change, the importance of collaboration and collective action, and the power of unity in driving progress.
  • The event introduced AI assistant Robin, who provided unique insights and perspectives on transforming the textile industry, adding a new dimension to the discussions and contributing valuable analyses to the event’s overall dialogue.

The journey from resistance to readiness for change was a central theme of the event. Participants unanimously agreed that collaboration and collective action are essential in driving progress. With the supplier perspective woven into every discussion, the event underscored the power of unity in fostering positive change. As keynote Suzanne Lee, founder of Biofabriacte aptly shared: “Everybody asks the same question; how do we make innovation go faster? As if it was happening slowly. Well, here’s the hard truth: Innovation just takes time,” highlighting the patience required for meaningful transformation.

Throughout the event the speakers shared their insights on challenges, solutions, and the imperative for collective action.

“The decision-makers are actually the manufacturers, we’ve spent too much time disproportionally pitching the brands.”

Linda Greer, Environmental Scientist and Impact Advisor

Carolyn Mair shed light on the psychological aspect, advocating for messaging that inspires positive behavioural changes rather than inducing guilt. Their perspectives highlighted the need for a holistic approach to driving sustainable practices.

Six brilliant teams who are all winners of the Global Change Award, pitched their pioneering innovations to the audience, ranging from nano material 200 times stronger than steel to AI sorting technology 10 times more precise than current solutions.

Innovation Showcase

During the event, 20 of our Global Change Award winners exhibited their innovations at the Innovation Showcase. A great way to connect key industry players with some of the most forward-thinking innovators in the textile industry. Please find an overview of the teams at the Innovation Showcase below.

5 biggest opportunities for transformation

During the talk, our newest team member Robin listened in and came up with some input, questions and insights. Robin is an AI assistant developed by our friends at Accenture.

Fireside chat: Using psychology to drive sustainable behaviour
How are our brains wired and why are messages of doom and gloom ineffective? How can we contribute to reframing our challenges to inspire hope and encourage personal engagement, to go from fear to action?

Prof. Carolyn Mair, Cognitive Psychologist, Chartered Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Fashion Business Consultant
Frank Zambrelli, Managing Director, Retail Sustainability & ESG at Accenture
Fireside chat with cognitive psychologist Prof. Carolyn Mair and Frank Zambrelli from Accenture on how we can use psychology to drive sustainable behaviour. Robin’s conclusions impressed the speakers.

Based on the discussions on stage, these are Robin’s takeaways:

“The journey to transform the textile industry into a more sustainable one faces several barriers, such as resistance to change, especially from traditional business models and within the industry, the perceived high costs associated with transitioning to sustainable practices, the complex nature of global supply chains and unsustainable consumption habits that keeps driving unsustainable practises.

There are many opportunities to turn this around though – here are the five biggest opportunities that I concluded from the talk:

  1. Enhanced collaboration: Strengthening relationships across the industry, including brands, suppliers, and innovators, is paramount for cohesive and effective practices.
  2. Knowledge sharing: Increasing awareness and knowledge across the supply chain fosters informed decision-making and accountability.
  3. Psychological principles: Utilizing empowering messaging to motivate behavior change among consumers and industry players can drive sustainable practices forward.
  4. Innovative technologies: Leveraging advancements like circular materials and production processes minimizes waste and environmental impact.
  5. Policy support: Implementing policies and incentives that encourage sustainable practices can accelerate industry transformation.”

Watch the event

Join the discussion and gain valuable insights by watching the Open Perspectives event. Explore the full version or opt for the shorter version for quick, impactful takeaways.

Stage programme

Keynote: Let’s be honest… by Suzanne Lee, Founder and CEO, Biofabricate

Panel: From Idea to Impact moderated by Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead, H&M Foundation and panellists Julie Verdich, Material Innovation Lead, GANNI, Mario Stucki, CEO & Co-Founder, dimpora and Linda Greer, Environmental Scientist and Impact Advisor

Fireside chat: Using psychology to drive sustainable behaviour by Prof. Carolyn Mair, Cognitive Psychologist, moderated by Frank Zambrelli, Managing Director, Retail Sustainability & ESG at Accenture

Innovator pitches by Julian Ellis-Brown, Co-Founder and CEO, Ponda / Myra Arshad, Co-Founder and CEO, ALT TEX / Victoria Mataczynski, CEO, Nanoloom / Dipak Mahato, Founder and CEO, SeaChange Technologies / Shelly Xu, Founder, SXD / Sarika Bajaj, Co-Founder and CEO, Refiberd