Media Release: AFC Innovation & Sustainability Showcase

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) with Jodie Haydon, Partner of the Prime Minister, hosted an Australian fashion sustainability event attended by leading Australian fashion designers, industry allies and government officials. Three Australian-made innovations pushing the industry's environmental transition were projected throughout Kirribilli House thanks to Epson Australia, AFC’s print and projection technology partner:

Australian Fashion Council FashTech Lab: Supported by four local Australian technology partners (Style Atlas, Bandicoot Imaging, Couture Cad and Ponz Studio), FashTech Lab piloted 15 Australian brands who achieved savings on cost, time, carbon, water and textile waste by transitioning from physical sampling to digital sampling. The project also highlights the potential to keep jobs and digital skills local.

Mud to Marle: The 2023 Country Road Climate Fund winner led by Full Circle Fibres, Deakin University and textile manufacturer Loomtex, transforms low-value Australian wool and Australian cotton into a natural high-value yarn.

“Mud to Marle demonstrates full manufacturing capability from growing to sewing, showing that, contrary to popular belief, it actually is possible to innovate, create and scale low-impact and circular textile solutions in Australia,” said Full Circle Fibres Founder, Meriel Chamberlin.

BlockTexx: BlockTexx is an Australian clean technology company that recovers polyester and cellulose from textiles and clothing, creating a global solution for hard to recycle clothing blends.

Adrian Jones, Co-founder of Blocktexx said, “Our advanced technology, chemistry and manufacturing are key to unlocking the potential for future materials. Thousands of tonnes of textiles are being diverted from landfill annually through our commercial scale textile recovery facility.”

Each activation uses proprietary technology and innovation and places a spotlight on the potential for Australia to be globally competitive. The key message of the evening was that with collaboration, technology can position the Australian fashion industry as a leader of responsibly made, high quality, design-led clothing and textiles.

Jaana Quaintance-James, CEO of the AFC, stated "A small snapshot of our industry’s huge potential was on display this evening. While we can never compete with labour costs overseas, we can gain a competitive edge globally by leveraging the raw fibres here in Australia and right shoring, with advanced technology. Australia, with its beautiful cotton and wool, burgeoning capability and creative talent, has such a unique position that has the potential to push us into a world leading position.”

Quaintance-James continued “With the right investment, collaboration and innovative technologies, Australia has all of the ingredients to become renowned globally for high-quality, design-led, responsibly made and circular clothing. And with this, will come jobs and the skills of the future that can provide economic security for our 77% female-powered workforce. Fashion, as beautiful as it is on the runways, is a serious $27.2b business and has the potential to become so much more.”

The Australian Fashion Council looks forward to further industry collaboration to accelerate its commitment to innovation and sustainability, with their technology partners including Epson. Together, we can create a thriving, more sustainable and globally competitive Australian fashion industry.

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Jaana Quaintance-James, CEO of the AFC Speech can be viewed here
For enquiries and interviews, please contact Prue-ellen Thomas, Head of Marketing & Communications, pthomas@ausfashioncouncil.com.

ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN FASHION COUNCIL:
The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) is a not-for-profit and the peak body for the Australian fashion and textile industry, representing the sector for over 65 years. Members are drawn from across the value chain and range from micro to enterprise businesses, education institutions, state and national industry associations and students. The AFC’s aim is to guide the just transformation of the industry to a socially, environmentally, and economically prosperous circular economy by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.

Jaana Quaintance-James speech at Kirribilli House

The Australian fashion and textiles industry is a collective powerhouse.

We employ almost 500,000 people, 77% of which are women.

We are designers, pattern-makers and manufacturers, retailers and consumer representatives, growers, buyers and marketers, textile engineers and chemists, textile recyclers and circular innovators. Our members work in design studios and factories, at markets, in offices, homes and shops in every corner of Australia.

We play a role in the life of every single Australian and how they represent themselves to the world each day.

We are also a serious and significant business, contributing 1.5 percent of GDP and generating $7.2 billion of exports, more than wine and beer combined.

Yet with this powerhouse status comes challenges…

The cost and complexity of doing business…

Inflationary pressures and reduced disposable incomes…

Workforce shortages and digital transformation…

Ultra fast, low cost fashion directly imported by consumers, resulting in an uneven playing field for Australian born fashion businesses.

And the need to significantly reduce the industry’s well documented environmental impacts.

But we also have significant opportunities and nothing brings those to life better than tonight's three showcases, each which uses proprietary Australian technology and innovation.

To my left, we have The Australian Fashion Council FashTech Lab which delivered savings on cost, time, carbon, water and fabric for 15 Australian brands by piloting their transition from physical to digital sampling. Displayed throughout this room are the resulting digital samples from Bianca Spender, Jac + Jack and Cue. For our industry to not only survive, but thrive, we need collaborative programs like this to accelerate adoption of new innovations and technology made in Australia.

In the Drawing Room we have Mud to Marle, the 2023 Country Road Climate Fund winner led by Full Circle Fibres, Deakin University and textile manufacturer Loomtex, which transforms low-value Australian wool and cotton into a natural high-value yarn. For our industry to not only survive, but thrive, government and industry together need to co-fund trailblazing ideas like this which reinvigorates textile supply chains made right here in Australia.

And be sure to visit BlockTexx, through this door here, the Australian technology company that recovers polyester and cellulose from textiles and clothing in order to create a global solution for hard to recycle clothing blends. For our industry to not only survive, but thrive, we need to support pioneering technologies transforming waste into resources right here in Australia.

And, I will just pass to Adrian Jones, Founder of BlockTexx, who would like to provide Jodie with a native plant, nurtured from CellTexx®, a product of the BlockTexx process.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to host this event here with Jodie this evening - thank you - because it spotlights the potential for the Australian fashion industry to be the global leader, renowned for design-led, sustainable, high quality clothing and circular technology solutions that we know it can be.

The Australian Fashion Council advocates for prioritising tech and innovation to bolster our local manufacturing capabilities. While we may not compete with offshore labour costs, we can strategically cultivate and retain sovereign capability in textiles and clothing by celebrating, preferencing and investing in our Australian industry.

If there is one message to take away from tonight it is this - the future of fashion is Australian.

Media Release: AFC announces Jaana Quaintance-James as its new CEO

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Jaana Quaintance-James as its new Chief Executive Officer, commencing in the role today. 

A leader with a strong track record in commercial strategy delivering market advantage through sustainable practices and innovation, Ms Quaintance-James has dedicated her career to driving impactful change across the Fashion and Textile Industry both domestically and internationally. 

Ms Quaintance-James was most recently the Chief Sustainability and Sourcing Officer at Global Fashion Group which operates fashion and lifestyle eCommerce platforms in LATAM and South-East Asia including THE ICONIC in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to this she was Head of Sustainability at THE ICONIC and Ethical Sourcing Manager at David Jones, following a decade-long consulting career in consumer goods.

Marianne Perkovic, Chair of the AFC said, “Ms Quaintance-James joins us at a time when the Australian Fashion and Textile Industry is navigating challenges in the retail and trading environments at a local and global level, inflationary pressures, technology changes and shortages of skilled workers and materials.” 

“There was a high level of interest in this position. We were ultimately impressed by Ms Quaintance-James’ strategic leadership and strong financial, and operational skills. Her industry knowledge and drive for business transformations that improve profitability and sustainability will ensure our industry continues to thrive.”

Ms Quaintance-James said, “I am excited to champion and support our members as they manage change and innovate. Behind the incredible Australian fashion brands are businesses and their employees supported by consumers. Together we create opportunities to accomplish more and continue to grow the economic contributions of the Australian Fashion and Textile Industry”.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND INTERVIEWS
Prue-ellen Thomas, Head of Marketing and Communications, AFC
pthomas@ausfashioncouncil.com 

Womenswear giant Sussan Group joins Seamless Foundation Members

The Australian Fashion Council is proud to share that the Sussan Group (Sussan, Sportsgirl & Suzanne Grae) have proudly signed on as a Foundation Member of Seamless, Australia’s national clothing stewardship scheme that aims to make Australian fashion and clothing truly circular by 2030.

The landmark scheme has been set up to change the way Australians consume and recycle their clothes and reduce the 200,000 tonnes of clothing that goes to Australian landfill each year.

The Sussan Group is delighted to join fellow Foundation Members David Jones, Big W, Rip Curl, RM Williams, Lorna Jane and The Iconic. “Together we are working towards shaping a sustainable future for the fashion industry,” Group Retail CEO Rebecca Hard said.

“The Sussan Group is looking forward to helping shape the conversation and recommendations for the proposed scheme. We are excited to be working alongside our Seamless partners on potential solutions to solve the issue of textile waste,” Ms Hard continued.

"It is so pleasing to see Sussan Group stepping up as a leader in our industry by becoming a Seamless Foundation member and making a genuine commitment to the future of the Australian fashion industry,” said Danielle Kent, Project Director of Seamless. “These organisations will play a pivotal part in building the foundational elements of the scheme and ensuring it has the best chance of success.”

The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme design and the Roadmap to Clothing Circularity will drive the industry towards clothing circularity by 2030 through:

Register your interest for Seamless

AFC supports Yes with #FashionForYes

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) proudly announces its unwavering support for the Voice to Parliament and launch of #FashionForYes, taking a decisive step towards fostering recognition for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This campaign follows the ‘AFC Talks, Voice to Parliament’ event where AFC Director, Yatu Widders-Hunt hosted a panel of powerful Indigenous and industry voices: Rachel Perkins, filmmaker and Co-Chair of Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, Laura Thompson Founder of Clothing the Gaps, and Elle Roseby Managing Director of Country Road.  

The panel engaged in an open and courageous conversation on the meaning and purpose of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as well as unpacking some of the noise behind the Voice and why fashion brands should find their voice in support of this historic moment.

PANEL'S CALL OUT TO INDUSTRY:

BE ACTIVE (Rachel)     BRING YOURSELVES TO THIS (Laura)    BE BRAVE (Elle)

OTHER KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE PANEL:

JOIN #FashionForYes

The AFC proudly supports the Yes campaign and will share a #FashionForYes toolkit for brands or individuals to use across eDM & Socials.

DOWNLOAD THE #FASHIONFORYES TOOLKIT

If you are creating your own communications, we encourage you to include #FashionForYes in your creative and/or captions for us to share and amplify. 

 

TOGETHER, WE CAN HELP MAKE HISTORY

This is our chance to ‘walk the talk’ and act on our industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

 

BE ACTIVE. BRING YOURSELF TO THIS. BE BRAVE. 

#FashionForYes

AFC Talks, Voice to Parliament

On October 14, Australians will be asked to vote Yes or No on a proposed law to enshrine an Indigenous representative body in the Constitution.

The referendum on the #VoicetoParliament will provide a historic opportunity for Australians to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The AFC invites our community to an open conversation to unravel the facts behind the noise.

Join us as Yatu Widders-Hunt, General Manager at Cox Inall Ridgeway and AFC Board Director, leads a panel discussion with distinguished guests:
- Rachel Perkins, Multi-award-winning filmmaker and Co-Chair of Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition
- Laura Thompson, Co-Founder - Clothing The Gaps
- Elle Roseby, Managing Director - Country Road Group

AFC Talks, Voice to Parliament
4pm AEST, Wednesday 6 September 2023

REGISTER FOR WEBINAR HERE