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COVID-19 Worries Continue to Disrupt Fashion Industry Events Worldwide

With non-essential business travel discouraged by many organizations across the globe amid the spread of the coronavirus, another meeting of fashion industry minds has been postponed.

The Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which was set to take place in May, is the latest event to be pushed back due to international anxieties about the disease. The Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), which hosts the conference, announced late last week that the event would be put on hold until autumn “in light of the growing public health concerns around COVID-19.”

“While this was certainly a difficult decision, we believe it is the only responsible and sensible thing to do, taking the global health uncertainties and authority recommendations into consideration,” GFA wrote in a statement on the event’s website.

“This is a precarious situation, rife with numerous challenges, but I’m confident that together we can remain positive even in the face of such uncertainty,” said Eva Kruse, CEO of Global Fashion Agenda. “In the past couple of days, we have been in touch with many of our key stakeholders and it has been amazing to experience the understanding, flexibility and support from everyone. The feeling of solidarity in our industry has been striking and our commitment to making the fashion industry more sustainable has not wavered.”

The 2020 summit will instead take place on Oct. 12-13 at Copenhagen Concert Hall, organizers said, promising to release further details about the specific content and programming over the coming months. The event’s aim is to highlight environmental, social and ethical issues facing the industry and its supply chain, with a special focus on sustainability.

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A series of stage talks will be led by industry experts and change-makers, along with an Innovation Forum showcasing fashion’s sustainable solutions providers in a curated exhibition space. A Design Studio exposition will illustrate a responsible value chain from the perspective of a designer, spotlighting sustainable options.

The summit’s matchmaking program also introduces brand attendees to manufacturers for innovative materials or packaging solutions, giving them the opportunity to connect with more than 30 potential supply chain partners. Last year’s event resulted in 87 percent of brand exhibitors walking away with at least one partnership opportunity, GFA claimed.

In recent weeks, other fashion trade shows and industry-adjacent events have been canceled or postponed due to the spread of the virus, and these scheduling disruptions are likely to continue through the spring.

Just last week, Shoptalk notified prospective attendees that its retail and technology event had been rescheduled from its original March 22-25 dates, to Sept. 14-17.  The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) also announced that its spring events would be postponed indefinitely, citing a concern for the “health and safety of footwear executives and professionals, as well as to be respectful of the new heavy strains this has put on brands’ and retailers’ workflows.”