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Experiential Learning

Van Hoang | Copenhagen Fashion Summit


2018 NFFF Recipient

My first thought after getting back from my trip to Copenhagen for the Copenhagen Fashion Summit was “When can I go back?”

The summit which tackles sustainability in the fashion industry was opened with a warm welcome from founder Eva Kruse and a speech from the Crown Princess of Denmark. It brought together global leaders from Katherine Hamnett the original eco warrior to Francois-Henri Pinault CEO of Kering. Everywhere you turned there were change makers and industry heavyweights.

The panel discussions ranged from ethical labor and hidden supply chains to the CEO agenda and the circular economy. What I loved was how interactive the summit was. You didn’t have to stay seated and just listen to panels all day. There were also pitches throughout the day from innovative startups that were so inspiring to see. It was amazing to see that there are people out there creating solutions to specific sustainability issues and not just talking about it. There was also the Innovation Forum where sustainable products and companies presented their solutions. Booths were spread throughout each level of the building so you could meet and speak to them if you wished. I really enjoyed just walking around and speaking to everyone. As it was repeatedly pointed out, we can only move forward if we work together.

Not only was the summit incredible, but exploring Copenhagen was eye opening as well. Recycling has convenient as there are recycling bins on all the streets. They also have a waist incinerator that converts waste to energy. It is so efficient that Copenhagen does not produce enough waste for it to run all year, they have to import waste from other countries! It also produces more clean water than it consumes and claims to be the cleanest incineration plant in the world. Copenhagen’s water is also so clean, you can drink it from the tap. It undergoes strict daily quality controls and is so that there’s no need to add chlorine or other chemicals.

But, what I found the most surprising and inspiring is the government support for sustainable initiatives in Denmark. They actually empower and encourage change that enables solutions for a healthier planet and people. To see the Crown Princess make the opening speech the first day of the summit and the Minister of Finance make the opening speech the second day truly demonstrated how important sustainability is to them as a country and that it can make business sense. They showed that it can be done if we work together and work in the interest of all, not just the some. If only we had the same priorities in the United States!

This was truly an opportunity that I would never have gotten the chance to pursue had it not been for Nashville Fashion Week, the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund, and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. I hope to share what I learned and incorporate as much as I can into my business practices. Just being at the summit and speaking to like minded people was honestly an experience that I have learned so much from and never forget. Thank you all so so much!

Maria Silver | Decoded Future Summit | London


2017 NFFF Recipient

I'm still buzzing from my trip to London where I attended the Decoded Future Summit. The summit’s focus this year was the oh-so-important and unavoidable (for the sake of our planet’s future) topic of sustainability. There were panels on sustainable packaging, switching to a circular economy, the rise of the niche brand, successful Eco-brands (with CEOs and representatives present to speak about their brands), and so much more. The summit even scheduled networking breaks throughout the day which allowed me the opportunity check out other businesses exhibiting their sustainable products and services. From the moment I arrived, I was immersed in information and inspiration that continues to turn my creative gears at high speed.The whole week was so full of inspiration and insight. It was like opening a window to a new world of ideas. From the wealth of knowledge I gained from the summit and the empowering meetings I had with other like minded independent designers, to the once-in-a-lifetime visit to the V&A museum for the chance to see the Mary Quant exhibit and also the Barbican museum for the Lee Krasner exhibit (If you know me, you know I can't leave a museum without a full collection in my mind ready to be designed and produced). The trip proved fruitful beyond my expectations.

I’ve returned to Nashville with a brand new perspective and with so many new plans for my business. BBMS is definitely  getting a whole new and sustainable face lift by Fall. I can't thank the Community Foundation of Tennessee and Nashville Fashion Week enough.