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Our transformation journey

Looking forward to the year ahead with AFC CEO, Leila Naja Hibri

by The AFC

2 March 2023

The start of a new year is often a time to reflect and plan, and here at the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) we’re doubling down on our four strategic pillars to guide the AFC’s aim: a just transformation of our industry to a socially, environmentally and economically prosperous circular economy by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050.

Contributing to social, environmental and economic prosperity for our industry

The AFC focuses on four strategic pillars to achieve our aim:

    1. Promoting the Australian Fashion trademark to grow domestic and global demand for design-led brands committed to responsible practice

    2. Building future manufacturing capability of ‘Fibre and its Derivatives’ (from fibre to yarn, textiles to fashion and uniforms) to boost jobs, the economy and our sovereign capability and close the supply chain loop

    3. Developing skills and career pathways to address current and future skills needs, create jobs and boost the economic security of the industry’s women empowered workforce

    4. Transitioning the sector to a circular economy by 2030 via the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme to create a just transformation towards Net Zero by 2050


Transforming the way we make, consume and recycle clothing

Australia's clothing industry is responsible for more than 200,000 tonnes of landfill waste per annum. The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme is our industry’s response to Australia’s growing clothing and textile waste problem, to align with global sustainability and carbon reduction targets.

We’ve been incredibly proud to lead the consortium behind the new scheme that includes Charitable Recycling Australia, Sustainable Resource Use, Queensland University of Technology and WRAP, along with key collaborators from the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence, Australian Retailers Association, Australian Council of Recycling, National Retail Association, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association.

The scheme draws on best practice from around the world and is modelled off four key pillars - designing for circularity, circular business models, closing the material loop and citizen behaviour change, to collectively change the way Australia designs, makes, consumes and re-uses fashion and clothing.

I really do believe that together, we can do what no organisation, brand or individual can do on their own. I encourage you to make the pledge today to join us on the journey to eliminating clothing waste in Australia by 2030.

Welcoming the new Chair of the AFC

The transformation journey is also taking place within the AFC, and I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Marianne Perkovic as the new Chair of the AFC Board.

Marianne has deep commercial and technical experience across business strategy and execution and a passion for driving sustainable transformation with a positive environmental and social impact.

Her career spans over 28 years across the Financial Services Sector including Executive roles at CBA, where she was head of CBA’s Private Bank and prior to that, the CEO of an ASX listed company, Count. At the time of her appointment she was reported as the youngest female CEO of an ASX listed company. Marianne now has a portfolio career that includes Non-Executive Directorships and special advisory work with KPMG, and is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, and a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW).

Marianne brings new skills and a new perspective to our incredible AFC Board of Directors, and I feel privileged and excited to be working with a team of passionate and courageous experts.

Importantly, I would also like to sincerely thank Professor Robyn Healy for acting as our Chair since 2022, and we’re delighted that she will remain as an important member of our Board.

Industry leaders enabling important change

The AFC’s esteemed patron members now include ebay, Afterpay, the Country Road Group, Decjuba, The Iconic, Kmart, Marque Lawyers, Woolmark and Vicinity Centres. We’re also delighted to welcome a new strategic partner in Epson. This passionate community of industry leaders is enabling the AFC to continue its work to advocate for and guide our industry.

Helping the world to discover, explore and buy Australian fashion

The world first Australian Fashion trademark and international campaign, ‘Down Under, In Front’ launched by the AFC in 2022 continues to sell our unique attributes and values to the world. Find out more about the campaign and the 33 certified Australian Fashion trademark brands on the website.

Building future manufacturing capability, skills and career pathways

We continue to strongly advocate for our industry with all levels of government and I am delighted to have been invited to participate in the Federal Government’s Industry Working Group for the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF). One of the key priorities of the NRF is to unlock the potential value-add to Australia’s raw materials, including wool and cotton, in sectors like fashion and textiles.

Also, as we proudly announced late last year, the 2022 National Skills Priority List has seen eight key fashion and textile skills in the manufacturing space escalate to the 'strong demand' category. This was the first step to activating our third strategic pillar to address current and future skills and jobs needs for our industry. And we are now looking forward to collaborating with the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Council, Skills Impact, to advocate for the development and implementation of a nationwide fashion and textile apprenticeship and traineeship program.

Finally, and most importantly, my most sincere thanks to all of you - the brands, retailers, media, creative agencies, clothing charities, educational institutions, partners, industry leaders and individual contributors who continue to support the AFC and our work. We’re inspired by you and guided by you every day, and we look forward to sharing the transformation journey with you all - this year and beyond.

Leila Naja Hibri,
CEO, Australian Fashion Council



National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme

Make the pledge towards eliminating clothing waste in Australia by 2030

Australian Fashion trademark campaign and brands

Australian Government National Reconstruction Fund (NRF)

2022 Skills Priority List Key Findings Report

The Jobs and Skills Council, Skills Impact

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