Invited by the fashion group Gran Canaria Moda Cálida and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the members of the European Fashion Alliance (EFA), founded in Frankfurt in June 2022, met in Maspalomas on October 19th and 20th to celebrate the first Summit within the schedule of Gran Canaria Swim Week, the only professional swimwear fashion catwalk in Europe.
The Summit’s objective, which was attended by 59 representatives from 23 European countries, was to discuss and agree on a package of measures and actions that support and promote the necessary process of the fashion industry’s transformation in Europe. The Alliance is made up of 29 member organizations, including numerous fashion creator’s associations, fashion weeks, and educational and research institutions; representing in all more than 10,000 European companies from the fashion sector, from micro-enterprises to large corporations. The Asociación de Creadores de Moda de España (ACME) is one of them.
During the meeting, one of the main topics was the "Green Deal" formulated by the European Union in 2019 by the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in order to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero for 2050, to which the fashion industry must also urgently contribute according to the commitment adopted by the EFA as the CO₂ footprint and the environmental destruction caused by textile production and fashion consumption continues to be enormous.
EFA has set out to make a significant contribution to achieving a CO₂ neutral, environmentally sustainable, non-toxic and fully circular textile industry, as well as raising awareness among fashion producers, designers and consumers.
To this end, during the meeting in Gran Canaria, four key points were established on which the planned measures will be based: sustainability, education, politics and innovation.
The European Fashion Alliance is convinced that sustainability and digital transformation, along with innovation, education and labour market measures, will be the drivers for the fashion industry to make fabrics that are more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable. To accelerate this transition process, the EFA will also focus on intercultural exchanges and interactions among creative people and will support young talent as drivers of change through actions, research and campaigns.
"This European alliance plays a crucial role, since through it the companies that have always worked in the field of slow fashion finally have a voice - a voice that will sound loudly because it represents many -. Fashion with values linked to culture and sustainability”, states Pepa Bueno, Executive Director of ACME.
During the period between 2023 and 2027, the European Fashion Alliance will materialize this purpose in four main objectives based on the four defined key points:
EFA Members agree that the vision and goals need to be translated into action plans and specific policy frameworks to drive change over the next two to three years. For this, it is essential to know in depth the needs and challenges that the fashion industry faces, especially those of creators and designers.
Pascal Morand, Executive President of the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la mode, adds: “Fashion goes beyond its own market, it is culture. We belong to a market economy and that is why it is important to ensure that everyone, whether they are part of the sector or not, understands that fashion is also an engine for global sustainability”.
In this sense, the EFA will carry out in 2023 a survey at European level through its members to investigate the needs and challenges of micro, small, medium and large companies that operate in the textile and fashion industry as well as actors oriented towards education and research, and other related actors.
The insights gained should enable EFA to create priority-oriented policy frameworks in response to current legislation, among others the 'European Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles', as well as to develop new EU policies and programmes that support creative and fashion industries. The aim is for those involved to better understand European legislation, an area in which many entrepreneurs and creators encounter difficulties.
Minerva Alonso Santana, Councilor for Industry, Commerce and Crafts of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, states: "We are very proud and honoured to have held the first annual EFA Summit in our beautiful island of Gran Canaria, during Gran Canaria Swim Week. The European Fashion Alliance is an important exchange network. It will allow us to learn about other experiences and advance our Ecoisla project for innovation and sustainable fashion. We also offer other members our experience of 26 years as a public support program for the fashion industry. The Summit held in Gran Canaria represents the beginning of the creation of synergies for the improvement of the fashion industry, as well as a framework that will allow us to learn and to make our values known”.
Additionally, the EFA will engage and empower young talent and voices by actively participating, alongside established brands and organizations, in leadership tasks and activities within the organization.