The circular economy: a driver of innovation

Report of one of the Smart Talks, that took place last 20 of September in the Smart Square Hall 3 :

The circular economy: a driver of innovation. For a new approach to the fashion sector

Craig Arend (Blog)
Orianne Chenain (Fashion Tech Lab)
Cyrill Gutsch (Parley for the Oceans)
Smart Talk moderated by Giusy Bettoni, President of CLASS and consultant for Première Vision on innovation and sustainable development for textiles, fashion and design.
An award-winning designer, Cyrill Gutsch is also a developer of brands and
products. He gave details of a new method he is spearheading, called Cross
Intelligence, which generates a collaborative culture. In his opinion, if the circular economy is to achieve its full potential and create new opportunities, it must firstly  encourage the collaboration between creators, thinkers, designers and leaders of opinion. Hence the foundation “Parley for the Oceans”. The organisation sees itself as a collaboration network between a number of players, whose primary duty is to raise awareness about the beauty and the fragility of the oceans, to prepare and implement strategies that can put an end to the destruction of this environment. According to Cyrill, behind any environmental question there is an artificial economic system and those in charge are the managers of the creative industries: “We have to create a more lucrative system and protect the oceans rather than destroying them.» This transformation should involve cross-sector intelligence, creative collaborations and eco-innovation. According to him, we have 10 years to avoid the worst-case scenario: the death of the oceans. Cyrill outlined his positive vision: “All problems are also opportunities”. Our oceans are currently overwhelmed with plastic waste. In the short term, we need to stop using new plastic materials, and in the long term we need to reformulate plastic and recycle it. “All our second winds come from the ocean”. This is the thought process behind the solution “Parley AIR Strategy, whose objective is to reduce the use of plastic materials, gather plastic waste using a variety of methods, invent new materials, create new products and redefine their use – in other words create the new supply chain of the circular economy. The trainers developed by Adidas containing Parley Ocean Plastic is the best example.
According to Craig Arend, technological visions have to be transformed into reality and into a way of life. He was the first digital influencer to take charge of the Instagram account @nytimesfashion for fashion month. His virtual reality film, dedicated to fashion week, entitled “Mirror to the Soul” has received awards. He believes that the Wall Street companies developing VR and AR are in the process of becoming self-sustainable industries. Virtual Reality means that people feel as though they are really present in the environment they are observing. Through a number of case studies, Craig has shown that people buy more thanks to VR. The key word in his reflection is Immersion: consumers who are the most immersed are the most committed, and this commitment creates experiences that are greatly appreciated by millennials. It is a fact, consumers are distracted by a multitude of media sources, devices and social networks. Virtual reality allows them to focus, creating a form of possession and  generating emotional experiences. VR replaces passive observation with active engagement. These days, everything is concentrated in a single device: the mobile phone. If a brand is to succeed today, it has to adopt a veritable digital
transmission and immerse its community in the virtual reality of its brand  universe.
Lastly, Orianne Chenain, Strategy Director, presented the Fashion Tech Lab
movement, founded by Miroslova Duma. This is a disruptive and hybrid movement that combines Fashion & Technology. The Fashion Tech Lab is an accelerator and an experimental laboratory that commercialises sustainable technologies and innovations to transform the Fashion Industry, which must imperatively evolve and demonstrate its commitment to the planet. “The Fashion Industry is the second largest polluter in the world”. She believes that brands and companies must find the best sustainable technologies, adapted to their objectives and invest in them as an investment in the future. To sell a sustainable product, companies must not only choose the right moment and the right opportunity but also the most suitable communication. The challenge today is to succeed in bringing together sustainable fashion companies and luxury brands, to multiply resources and allow more opportunities to develop.