Sustainable provocations met with optimism at Decoded Future London

On 6 June 2019, brand-leaders and innovators from across fashion, beauty, retail, technology and marketing came together at Decoded Future London, held by trend experts Stylus, to tackle the biggest trends affecting brands today, with sustainability emerging as the day’s crucial topic.

The summit opened with a keynote from Stylus’ Director of Consumer Product, Emily Gordon-Smith, who reassured brands that being more sustainably minded doesn’t have to hurt the bottom line – in fact it can boost it, but it is non-negotiable: “Preserve our precious resources. Leverage longer product life. Find that wealth in waste. Tackle the ugly packaging monster. And connect with conscious consumers. If you’re already doing these things – or even just thinking about doing them – your business will honestly become stronger for it.”

Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield & Chair, Environmental Audit Committee, picked up the mantle, calling on the fashion industry, consumers and government to do more, saying: “We as consumers can’t allow fashion companies to hide behind their supply chain… I want fashion to set out its blueprint for a net zero emissions world.”

Allbirds’ Sandeep Verma, Managing Director – Europe, also joined the sustainability discussion, telling attendees how the brand is dispelling the myth that “when people think of ecological and sustainable, they think they’ll have to make a compromise. We want to show them they don’t. We want the product to be the driving force.”

Addressing the not-so-niches

Conversation also gave a platform to less mainstream, yet notably important topics, including marketing to the over 55s – a demographic that Stylus reports is widely “underserved” by the fashion industry.

Broadcaster and Influencer, Suzi Grant of Alternative Ageing, was frank in her thoughts, saying: “It doesn’t end just because you reach 50. What does end is that you’re less attractive to advertisers and marketers. You become invisible.” Sharing the stage with Grant was Gransnet editor Lara Crisp, who made a strong case around spending power: “They have the money, they spend the money, why on Earth aren’t brands encouraging older consumers to spend with them?”

Sustainable provocations met with optimism at Decoded Future London

Start-ups driving change

Alongside hearing from industry-leaders, attendees also had the chance to meet a range of innovative tech and sustainably-driven start-ups that are making it their mission to help brands change the way they create and connect. IKSO, a sustainable denim producer is cleaning-up denim’s image by taking a 360-approach to its manufacturing and sourcing: “Denim is traditionally a dirty business… We’re looking at chemical usage and emissions, not just water. We have lifestyle assessments on all products in our portfolio, which means we can give a buyer the carbon footprint on any fabric they buy from us,” said the brand’s Global Marketing Director, Rosey Cortazzi.

Bringing the day to a close, Antonia Ward, Global Director of Advisory Services at Stylus left guests in no doubt of the importance of taking immediate action: “We need to move from conversation to commercial reality. If you’re a CEO and you’re not dealing with sustainability, your business might not have a future.”

The next iteration of Decoded Future will take place on October 18 at Convene, 117W 46 th Street.


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