Institute of Positive Fashion


18 April 2024

On Thursday 18th April 2024, we hosted our fourth annual Institute of Positive Fashion Forum (IPF Forum) at 180 Studios, 180 The Strand, London. The event welcomed key industry experts, strategically convened from the BFC’s expansive global network, come together to explore how to accelerate a circular fashion economy and net-zero efforts in the UK by 2030.

The action-oriented day consisted of a series of visionary keynotes, practical workshops and panel discussions with industry leaders. These were followed by audience breakout sessions facilitated by IPF Forum Delivery Collaborator, Deloitte, and designed to bring together peers across industry to collaborate and fast-track collective positive change.

This year’s event included the fourth iteration of the Future of Fashion Innovation Showcase and a display from the Student Fabric Initiative which showcased student designs from BFC Colleges Council member universities using deadstock fabrics, powered by The Materialist.

Closing remarks from Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council:

Wow! What a day. Incredible insights and conversations. Thank you all so much for coming and for your participation. I’m going to try and wrap up some of the rich content from today’s speakers and sessions.

At the beginning of the day, we talked about industry-wide collaboration and the importance of the industry coming together to navigate the move from an era of voluntary action on climate change to an era of one driven by regulation. 

Today, we have focused on tangible actions for industry/businesses, government and citizens who are navigating this change, adapting their thinking, mindsets and business models for a lower carbon future with circularity at the core.

We have discussed the Circular Fashion Innovation Network, a landmark example of industry-wide collaboration with BFC, UKFT and UKRI and today has explored in detail the strategic themes of Circular Business Models, Recycling for Circularity, Sustainable Manufacturing as well as Novel Technologies, Skills and Green Growth.

The discussions have been incredible, and we have picked out some common themes:

  • Social and environmental are inseparable and the industry welcomes sensible legislation
  • Design that lasts forever should be prioritised, rather than designing for immediate attention and trends - with a focus on ownership of a product
  • Increase regulation and accountability to shift the current UK market culture towards sustainability and circular business models shifting intent and accelerating the change
  • We are all activists - let citizens lead and play their part and in turn lead the choices of business
  • We have agency – acknowledge our agency. It is a muscle which needs to be practised
  • Traceability is key – businesses need to know their supply chain and to collect data
  • Businesses must ensure purpose and profit are aligned and not dealt as two polar opposites - they go hand in hand
  • Collaboration between smaller and bigger brands is essential in initiating conversations on innovative ideas and promoting circular practices
  • The fashion industry has so much creativity and innovation and we can lead the change
  • Whether environment or DE&I, we must lead from the top with systems and process change and prioritising data
  • People are at the heart of everything, everyone has to play their part and as Patagonia said every job is a climate role.

The aim of today was to have tangible outcomes for Businesses, Government and Citizens.

For Businesses

  • Get to work now as the process of compliance is long and you will need data and an understanding of your supply chain and people
  • It is vital to engage and get buy in from senior leadership teams and decide what value and growth mean for your business
  • Think about what growth means to you and ensure the impact on people and the planet are included in this
  • Think about responsible business and what investment you are able to make to enable your business to deliver value
  • Be resilient, adopt change, collaborate and learn
  • Engage with BFC/UKFT to give your feedback on legislation so that industry can advise Government on what will work
  • Educate consumers through marketing campaigns about the importance of circularity and sustainable choices.


  • We welcome sensible legislation
  • Industry need a level playing field, specifically thinking about the volume of product from outside the EU that don’t meet the same ethical criteria
  • We need a joined up approach across similar legislation in different territories with regards to data to ensure efficiencies in business and process
  • To provide sufficient support with regards to finance and guidance to help SMEs manage change and succeed - this industry has so many - we want them to succeed.


  • Empower citizens repair through initiative such as SOJO’s pledge to repair which was launched by Josephine here today, or the Patagonia repair van that many of us and students at King’s College took full advantage of
  • Promote education for children around circularity and sustainable practices, teaching them repair skills and promoting sustainable habits from an early age
  • Work with your local community and designers to repurpose materials and encourage the use of material inventory
  • Think about purchasing from the perspective of ownership of product and look after it, buy what you really want
  • Talk about the climate crisis in your communities - “We have to move away from the sacrifice [when we talk about climate change]. If you can find a way of talking about functional, social and emotional benefits it will steer people along the way.”

Thank you to TrusTrace who delivered a practical workshop on proactive regulation and compliance, and to the Outsiders Perspective whose workshop focused on supporting businesses in embedding DE&I into their strategy.

Earlier today, we discussed our Low Carbon Transition Programme - just a reminder if you are a London based SME and interested in taking part - get in touch at: hello@instituteofpositivefashion.

Thank you all for playing your part today. I think we all are feeling inspired and there is momentum – we need to keep our pedal to the metal.

Thank you to Deloitte, our IPF Forum Delivery Collaborator, and to all our speakers, moderators, to you all for playing your part. Please keep up the good work. You will get a written summary in a few weeks’ time (thanks to the BFC team and our Delivery Collaborator, Deloitte).

We ask that you share your feedback so that we can plan for next year.

On behalf of the BFC, UKFT and UKRI, we look forward to continuing working with industry on the first industry transformation programme to accelerate us to a Circular Fashion Eco-System. Your participation today is greatly appreciated by us all.

Before we close for the day, and take time to digest everything we have heard, discussed and shared….

I am delighted to announce the winner of the Student Fabric Initiative, Jodie Alford from the BA Fashion, Arts University Bournemouth. The BFC Student Fabric Initiative’s ultimate ambition is to create a simple and efficient way for designer brands and universities to work together and provide practical support for future talent, bringing sustainability and circularity even closer to the heart of fashion education in the UK. This year, the BFC partnered with The Materialist, a high-end excess stock marketplace, who oversaw all deliveries to universities across the UK.

Thank you all very much for making today so inspiring.

The generosity and commitment of our partners is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging the ongoing support of our IPF Forum Delivery Collaborator, Deloitte.

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