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The Future of Local Manufacturing

Victoria’s Textile, Clothing & Footwear Manufacturing Sector

The AFC in partnership with Epson Australia have commissioned RMIT to, for the first-time, quantify the true value of the Victorian textile, clothing & footwear (TCF) manufacturing sector. Initial research shows:

The sector is valued at nearly $1 Billion

Victoria’s TCF manufacturing sector currently generates over $960 million for Australia’s economy. This conservative number is derived from traditional ABS data and includes manufacturing natural and synthetic textiles, leather tanning, textile finishing, knitted products, clothing and footwear manufacturing (ANZSIC Division C: Manufacturing, Category 13: TCF Manufacturing)

TCF exports are valued at $318 million

Generating $100 million more than Victoria’s wine exports, the TCF sector has grown from 9% year on year to $318 million. This data includes clothing, footwear, textiles, leather articles and woven fabrics, but not yarn or raw fibres such as cotton or wool.

Victoria poised to lead Australia’s circular economy

Hosting the most complete supply chain, Victoria is best positioned to lead Australia’s transition to a circular clothing economy. This data is derived from the mapping of 400 businesses across the entire TCF supply chain by the team at RMIT.


This report is based on a meta-analysis of a variety of publicly accessible data sources, including ABS Census data, industry employment data (ANZSIC), and occupational employment data (ANZSCO). Desktop research methods were utilised to gather information from industry, government and non-government organisation reports, academic research, market intelligence databases, and company websites and annual reports.

In addition, the team at RMIT developed a database of approximately 400 TCF businesses linked to manufacturing in Victoria. The selection criteria were based on the businesses' involvement in local manufacturing. For example, only retailers that are known to produce at least part of their clothing range locally were included. This data is used to provide greater contextual details of Victoria’s TCF manufacturing.

Full Report:

The full report, ‘Moving the Needle: The State of Play of Victoria’s Textile, Clothing & Footwear Manufacturing Sector’, is due to be released in April, thanks to Epson Australia.

The report will look at the TCF manufacturing industry and how it connects beyond raw fibre and retail, to include the burgeoning hidden pockets of repair, reuse, second-hand. This data highlights the undervalued significance of the sector to the broader economy , the complex nature of the TCF industry, and how parts of it are hidden due to the current ABS classification system.

With these new figures, the report will redefine the TCF sector value through the lens of a circular economy, and forecast its potential including recommendations for government support.

Research for the report is being conducted by RMIT, led by Dr Jenny Underwood, Associated Dean, Fashion and Textiles Technology, in the School of Fashion and Textiles.

Be the first to see the report upon its release

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