When sustainability inspires innovation in fashion


A trade show is often a place to make deals and talk about money. But Brand License Europe (BLE) is trying to change the usual narrative in London. This is a conference where business leaders come together to build a better future, focusing on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, igniting new and diverse brands and voices for meaningful change.

This year, the event hosted a series of sessions showcasing some of the best practices from brand licensing leaders, with a special focus on the world of fashion.

Helena Mansell-Stoffer, one of the entrepreneurs and founder of Transformation Products, provided on-site guidance and networking opportunities to strengthen the sustainability conversation in the licensing industry.

“The brand and lifestyle licensing industry has a retail value of over $300 billion and the impact is huge,” said Helena. “But the scale is not just about responsible production, it’s an industry full of opportunity to bring about positive social change through the brands it represents.

That’s why we’re proud to showcase the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the amazing multifaceted work that’s being done here at Brand License Europe.

The United Nations is on a mission to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the field by inviting visionary business leaders and civil society to join the sustainability journey. Caroline Pettit, Deputy Director of the UN Regional Information Centre, delivered a keynote address to encourage positive action in business before welcoming the Irish youth design and education movement Junk Couture for a creative catwalk.

Junk Couture Models and UNRIC Deputy Director, Caroline Petit
Junk Couture Models and UNRIC Deputy Director, Caroline Petit

A showcase of young design talent aged 13 to 18, Junk Kouture empowers school-aged youth to embrace sustainable living by creating clothing and couture from recycled materials.

Four students walked the runway wearing their own creations made from 100 percent recycled materials, including bread wrappers, toasters, plastic bottles and disposable shoe covers.

Caroline Pettit will deliver the keynote address at Brand License Europe's Day of Purpose, focusing on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Caroline Pettit will deliver the keynote address at Brand License Europe’s Day of Purpose, focusing on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Through youth creative expression and alignment with six of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, we aim to bring about change through activities led by the world’s youth – the ‘Circle Engineers of Tomorrow’.” and Communication by Junk Kouture.

There are many ways in which the licensing industry can interact with the United Nations. A number have joined the UN Global Compact, the SDG Media Compact or the SDG Publishers Compact, while others are committed to eliminating harmful gender stereotypes or producing quality educational content and products such as books, toys or television shows.

“Governments have a strong responsibility to act, but industries and individuals can – and should – also be catalysts for changing the way products are produced, produced, distributed and consumed,” Ms Petty said.

More than 8 million actions have been registered by individuals using the ActNow app, the UN’s sustainable action engagement tool. At the same time, industry leaders are invited to join the race to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and turn the current crisis into a business opportunity.

“Sustainability is not just limited to fashion, but rather a catalyst for greater interest and true innovation in this industry,” Ms. Petty reports.

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