This October, The Circular Fashion Summit (CFS), where fashion leaders from across the globe meet to discuss sustainability and technology, returns for its second year. Only this time, they will meet in virtual reality.
Taking place on 3rd to 4th October during Paris Fashion week, the summit is the brainchild of technology start-up pioneering circular fashion, lablaco. The VR event provides a forum for conversation and action about circular fashion and its pivotal role in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
Circular fashion is thought to be key to addressing the fashion industry’s sustainability crisis.Dr Anna Brismar, who coined the term in 2014, defines circular fashion as “clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulated responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.”
The UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 are: ‘to reduce social inequality, advance innovation in the fashion industry, and promote responsible consumption.’ lablaco goes one step further.
On top of the official UN goals, the platform set three further, actionable goals: providing 1000 recycled sneakers to children in war zones in Afghanistan that are traceable on the blockchain to reduce inequality and empower children through sports, tokenising 10,000 items in the supply chain to provide traceable and connected clothes through IoT (Internet of Things) to push goal number nine of advancing the industry technologies and providing a transparent supply chain, and recirculating100,000 items collectively to save 2000 tonnes of CO2 or 3 million litres of water from landfill.
lablaco have considered every eventuality to ensure each goal is fulfilled. Lorenzo Albrighi, co-CEO of lablaco, told Verdict more about the first goal.
“The company can even see the face of the kids that receive the sneakers, as many times they go on the black market, so that will help avoid all those issues.”
Since last September’s Circular Fashion Summit there have been huge positive impacts. These impacts include a growth of more than thirty partners implementing CFS goals, and both one million litres of water and 6000 tonnes of CO2 being saved from landfill.
lablaco’s latest technology platform and app, SPIN, offers the technology that the brands at the event will be using to help close the loop in the fashion cycle, ensuring that environmental impacts are minimal.
Albrighi explained how the technology works:
“We help brands to tokenize products at any level of the supply chain and help to trace individual product journeys on Blockchain from the production to manufacture to the end customer. When you buy a product, you receive the ownership on the Blockchain and that enables the brands to track their products in the physical world and know who’s buying them, even if there’s a retailer in the middle.
And with this data, the brands can take back the products for recycling or resell. It’s really simple to retarget the customers to take them back.” lablaco offers an innovative digital solution to fashion’s biggest problems.
Guests will attend CFS2020 via Oculus headsets in AltspaceVR by Microsoft, using Unity’s real-time 3D technology.
The event will feature a VR rendition of the Grand Palais, created by Spacegrey, which is the usual destination for Paris Fashion Week. The 3D architecture has been produced in partnership with Chatillon Architectes, who are the Chief Architect of France’s historic monuments in charge of the Grand Palais since 2010.
Verdict asked Luke Bubb, 3D Environment Director & Founding Partner @circularfashionsummit what the event would look like:
“Simply put, it’s going to look incredible, although not without some technical mastery as we have a truly complex task of articulating highly detailed architecture onto a mobile device such as the Oculus Go. Using the Unity toolkit to build out the architecture and a delivery to Microsoft’s AltspaceVR for the social integration means the event is intended to run naturally like our physical editions of the Circular Fashion Summit.”
Virtual reality will allow fashion change makers and followers alike to continue gathering in the Grand Palais regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Timoni West, Director of Product, XR Tools at Unity Technologies explained:
“One key aspect of virtual reality that cannot be replicated in any other digital medium is the sense of presence. If you want people to experience how the clothes will truly look in a room or group, virtual reality is the best way.”
Luxury brands such as Hermes, Chanel and Balenciaga attended the first summit in person, and global heads of Fashion Weeks from Shanghai, Paris, London, Milan and New York will unite for the first time in virtual reality at CFS 2020 this October.
Albrighi explained how the event would run. “Every brand has their own booth, and you can actually walk around. It’s not going to be like a zoom call, you’re going to be basically sucked into this new 3D world.
“And you’re gonna have the serendipity of meeting people and talking to them and doing everything that you would do in a physical event.” With high resolution graphics that simulate body language and physical interactions seamlessly, travel is no longer a necessity.
CFS2020 will platform three panels in Design, Technology and Sustainability, moderated by journalists from Hypebeast, Business Insider, and Business of Fashion.
lablaco is also supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by showcasing a global section of ten BIPOC-owned avant-garde designer brands at The Impact Design Hub. All of the brands platformed will be available on SPIN.
Whilst the event involves plenty of firsts for all those involved, the Circular Fashion Summit sets a much-needed global precedent for change in the industry. Verdict asked lablaco what inspired him and his co-CEO ShihYun, Kuo to found their platform, to which Albrighi explained the pivotal moment:
“We just stopped and said, it’s 2016, what are we pushing for, we’ve got to change the system before we can even think about pushing another product on the market. So, we stopped, and we started this new journey and now we’re here.”
Now, in 2020, it couldn’t have come at a better time.