First, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
As I settle down to write this, I am thinking about the enormity of the last few weeks for the AFC, indeed for our industry.
On the 11th of May, a couple of hours before the official announcement of the Federal budget, we found out that, for the first time in decades, our industry would be allocated $1m in Federal funding to “support the design and development of an Australian fashion certification trademark promoting and endorsing the high quality of locally designed and produced products to key overseas markets”. Read the Vogue article here
This means we can start the journey towards clearly articulating the DNA of the ‘Australian Fashion Brand’ and creating a mechanism for local and global consumers to discover and choose Australian fashion showcasing our aspirational lifestyle, our indigenous heritage and our unique creativity that is distinguished through purposeful innovation, mindful creativity and human-centricity.
And then on the 26th of May, the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP (with whom I had an early morning chat that day at Cue Civic Canberra) hosted the first ever National Clothing Textiles Waste Roundtable at Parliament House and announced the Government's intention to prioritise clothing textile waste and invest $1m in seed funding through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.
The funding will assist industry, government and stakeholder organisations and experts to collaborate, innovate and find solutions to Australia’s 800,000 tonnes in clothing and textiles waste that is dumped yearly in landfill!
Organised by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE), the Roundtable was a great start to a robust conversation around the scope and complexity of the problem and the various priorities and possible solutions that were suggested by the participants
The AFC, together with our great advocate and partner, Charitable Recycling Australia, was privileged to be asked to present at the event and participated in the formation of the final Communique put forward by DAWE regarding next steps.
And on Monday the 31st of May, on the first day of the 2021 Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW), the AFC launched our much-anticipated landmark industry study commissioned to Ernst and Young and supported by Afterpay. Read the report here
Again, we were incredibly privileged to have the support of the Hon Dan Tehan MP - Federal Trade and Tourism Minister and the Hon Stuart Ayres MP - NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism at the launch.
The report was incredibly well received by our community and widely covered by media. Minister Tehan was particularly impressed with the data surrounding jobs (489,000) and export ($7.2 billion) and declared ‘he was shocked and had no idea’ at the depth and width of our industry.
This data equips us to continue our work in advocating with all levels of Government for their much-needed assistance and policy reform. It will also assist us in collaborating with our community to champion, support and guide the recovery and evolution of a thriving, resilient and inclusive Australian Fashion & Textile Industry.
Again, for those of you who completed the survey, thank you so very much for the time and effort you put into doing so.
And on the 25th of May, we launched our new-look AFC Website presenting a revived AFC Directory featuring Australia’s largest database of industry designers, suppliers & manufacturers as well as our evolved AFC Membership Program aimed at helping our community grow, connect, stay informed and contribute to the future of our industry. Please join us.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge our colleagues, Members and extended community in Victoria who are enduring the hardships caused by yet another lockdown. I sincerely hope that tonight’s lifting of some of the restrictions will be the beginning of the end of these trying days for you.
With this said, I invite you to read this month’s Newsletter full of industry updates and news. Thank you.
Leila Naja Hibri
CEO | Australian Fashion Council