Shaping Fashion Forum

April 20th, 2019 - Minneapolis, MN


In partnership with the Global Shapers and Fashion Revolution Midwest the inaugural, Shaping Fashion Forum came together in April, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN in honor of Fashion Revolution Week.

The Shaping Fashion Forum is a day-long event with speakers, workshops, and an ethical marketplace experience where individuals can join thought-provoking conversations about ethical and sustainable fashion and get inspired to align their closet with their values.

A diverse group of almost 200 designers, makers, academics, students, stylists, community members, and activists gathered to connect and discuss the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, but also learn tangible and inspiring actions they can take to be a part of the solution!


Throughout the day, industry leaders, designers, academics, and creatives were brought together over four inspiring conversations on key topics including, What is Sustainable Fashion vs. Ethical Fashion, Building an Inclusive Fashion Industry, Fashion + Feminism, and Styling Secondhand Fashion.

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Sustainable Vs. Ethical fashion?

Attendees got curious, asking deeper questions about the working conditions in Bangladesh from artist and activist Rachel Breen, who has met and interviewed survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse. The value of regenerative farming practices in fashion came to light when Maddy Bartsch, Executive Directory of Three Rivers Fibershed, shared how their fiber systems are rebuilding soil, focusing on local land and labor, all while protecting the health of the biosphere.



The theme of intersectional feminism threaded through all the conversations, but was spotlighted by Joy McBrien, the founder of Fair Anita, a fair trade social enterprise jewelry company, investing in 8,000 women in 9 countries. The conversation on Fashion + Feminism drew on various experiences and explored fashions implications on culture with insights from Idil Hashi, as well as Mindy Martell’s first-hand experience of labor and working conditions of garment factories around the world.


In between conversations, attendees explored a curated marketplace spotlighting clothing and accessories by seasoned slow-fashion designers, fair-trade labels, and sustainable brands you can find locally.


The marketplace also held a pop-up sewing lab & workshop, featuring local designers who specialize in re-design, alterations, and creative mending. Attendees brought items of clothing from their own clothes to refresh or repair, and explored techniques in over-dyeing, visible mending, embroidery, hand stitching and more.

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Thank you to everyone who attended the first Shaping Fashion Forum! This event would not have been possible without support from the Global Shapers community and we were honored to be a part of the 30+ events happening around the world to create a cleaner, safer fashion community for all.

Thank you to our panelists, moderators and speakers for sharing your insights into sustainable fashion and for all you do to shape the industry. A special thank you The Holden Room for hosting us and to all the designers, makers, and sewers who shared their skills and many ways we can reimagine our closets for good. Stay in touch. See you next year!

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