The fashion industry has just taken a big step toward expanding its presence as a global entity. The Swiss, non-profit organization, the World Economic Forum, has a meeting every year in Davos in which the global economy is discussed. Academics, business owners, politicians, scientists, and other public figures arrive from around the world to attend, and the forum is considered one of the most important stomping grounds for hot button issues ranging from climate change to robots taking over the world. Fashion has landed a prominent spot on the forum’s agenda, and that means big changes are ahead. The industry has never had such strong foothold in this annual event before.
WEF organizers give fashion industry leaders an integrated presence in the overall agenda. Topics that are covered include initiatives to incorporate a circular economy that reduces waste and has less impact on the environment, as well as past talks on inclusion and disability by Irish activist and academic Sinead Burke. Previously, other speakers have included Chen Man, who is credited with revolutionizing Chinese fashion photography, and designer Stella McCartney.
The diversity of the speakers present at the forum is paramount to getting a well-rounded view of the increasingly worldwide fashion economy. Without the ability to share what’s happening right now in the industry, creativity would stagnant, profitability would be minimized, and growth would be capped. In other words: it’d be bad for business.
Truly, the World Economic Forum is a seismic event, and the fact that fashion gets to be a part of it at all—let along such an integral part—is a sign of just how much power the industry has come to hold. To be able to speak about the business and economic aspects of fashion in the same room as the world’s biggest leaders is a humongous step forward, one that can’t be overstated. As the industry continues to expand and develop, the ability to discuss its shortcomings—such as its environmental and social impacts—is essential to its continued growth. It’s also essential to tackling these issues, ensuring continued profitability and expanding market shares. Fashion is now speaking on a global stage, and it has a lot to say.