Copenhagen Fashion Week (CFW) is widely considered to be miles ahead of London, Paris, New York and Milan when it comes to environmental issues.
In January, the event announced its ambitious environmental action plan, which included the goal of cutting its emissions by 50% over the next three years.
The latest CFW has just wrapped up after three days of physical and digital events, and cult Danish brand Ganni has demonstrated how fashion labels can change the way they operate.
Ganni – a brand worn by everyone from Beyoncé to Margot Robbie – has teamed up with denim brand Levi’s to launch a rental denim collection. The production of denim is known for having a high environmental impact – it’s predominantly made out of cotton, which requires a lot of water to grow.
According to Oxfam, it takes around 20,000 litres of water to make just one pair of jeans and a t-shirt, an amount that would take more than 13 years to drink.
Not only are Ganni and Levi’s trying to extend the life cycle of a pair of jeans by renting it out – which could help people avoid buying a whole new pair – the products are also made using upcycled denim from vintage Levi’s 501 jeans.
Creative director of Ganni, Ditte Reffstrup, said of the partnership: "I still have a pair of 501s that I’ve had since I was a teen. These pieces are so versatile. You can wear them high or low waisted and style with a detachable belt. The beauty of good denim is it just gets better over time. We handpicked each pair of vintage 501s with Levi’s, diving into their archive was like a treasure hunt. Each piece from this collection is made entirely of upcycled and repurposed denim."
The collection is called ‘Love Letter’ and features a pair of jeans, a dress and a shirt, with each item available to rent for one, two or three weeks. It would cost £295 (approx €327) to buy the jeans, but under the rental scheme it costs £40 (approx €44) for one week, £65 (approx €72) for two and £90 (approx €99) for three – not exactly cheap, but it makes a high fashion label like Ganni a bit more feasible for some people. There’s currently a waiting list for the scheme.
The rental collection comes at a particularly poignant time, as the fashion industry has experienced a reckoning over the pandemic, with many consumers and brands thinking about environmental waste and the impact of the industry on the planet.
For CFW, Ganni also staged an exhibition working with artists and creatives from all over the world. The brand posed the question: ‘What are the 20s gonna be like?’, calling the exhibition 202020.
Sustainability was once again at the heart of the project: "All pieces featured in our 202020 exhibition will live on in other future Ganni projects. Creatives have worked with archive Ganni pieces and created installations by reusing and recycling existing Ganni materials from previous season collections."
The exhibition was held in Copenhagen but can be experienced online here.