AFC Highlights from 2023: Guiding the Just Transformation of our Industry

As we approach the conclusion of yet another year, we're taking the time to pause and celebrate the milestones achieved for our industry, all made possible through the unwavering support of our dedicated AFC Members, Patrons, and Partners. Together, we're driving a transformative journey toward a socially, environmentally, and economically prosperous circular economy by 2030, aiming for Net Zero by 2050. 

Thank you to our AFC Members for being integral to this journey — Join us in reflecting on some of our favourite milestones that defined 2023:

Launched Seamless Design & Roadmap, Australia’s National Clothing Stewardship Scheme: The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister of Environment and Water, launched the design and roadmap for Seamless - a plan to revolutionise how clothing is made, used, and recirculated in Australia, striving for clothing circularity by 2030.

Launched ‘Advancing a Creative Industries Precinct for Sydney’ Report: Collaborating with the University of Technology Sydney, Minister John Graham, the Powerhouse Museum, and TAFE NSW, the AFC launched a report into the potential of Tech Central's anchor institutions in fostering a dynamic innovation ecosystem. 

Continued Support for First Nations People and Reconciliation: The AFC collaborated with industry leaders, brands and changemakers to launch #FashionForYes, uniting individuals who are committed to acknowledging First Nations' perspectives.

Joined the CSIRO Chief Scientist Expert Advisory Group:  An opportunity to represent our industry and offer impartial, external guidance to CSIRO regarding the national challenges and opportunities within our sector.

Second Pilot for FashTech Lab: Supported by City of Sydney, AFC partnered with leading Australian fashion brands and tech partners for FashTech Lab's second pilot, achieving notable milestones:

National Reconstruction Fund Industry Working Group Seat: Secured a seat in the ‘National Reconstruction Fund Industry Working Group’ to enhance local manufacturing capabilities in the fashion and textiles industry, aligned with government priorities.

Participation in the 'Inquiry into Perceptions and Status of VET': Committed to skill-building and creating career pathways, we contributed to the inquiry, fostering growth within our industry.

Melanie Levis' Nomination for 'ITAB Board of Management': AFC member Melanie Levis of Cue accepted a nomination to represent AFC at Manufacturing Skills Australia's 'ITAB Board of Management,' contributing to the development of local manufacturing capabilities in NSW.

Engagement in Notable Speaking Opportunities: The AFC had the privilege of sharing insights at notable events including the Ethical Consumer Report Webinar hosted by Baptist World Aid and Be Slavery Free, the Circular Economy Show presented by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Sustainable Fashion Roundtable at NSW Parliament House convened by the Hon. Dr. Sarah Kaine MLC, as well as Ragtrader Live, Global Sourcing Expo, International Apparel Federation’s (IAF) World Fashion Convention in Philadelphia, Circularity Live and more.

Not yet a member? Join us to unlock exclusive resources and events, connect with our professional network, and contribute to the future of a sustainable and innovative industry. The AFC is proud to contribute 5% of membership fees to the Indigenous Fashion Fund, launching in 2024.

Our continued support for First Nations people and reconciliation

After campaigning for “Yes” the AFC respected the call from First Nations leaders for silence. Now, we wish to express our continuing support for First Nations people and reconciliation.

Our campaign work highlighted the many brands and businesses who were active in showing their support for Yes. More broadly, it has underlined the AFC’s ongoing commitment to being part of a society that recognises First Nations’ perspectives.

Diversity, inclusion, listening and moving forward together is not a box to tick. It is a way of being and working that makes our community richer and stronger.

We are so grateful for the guidance and leadership of our board member Yatu Widders Hunt who is a champion of First Nations fashion and a proud Dunghutti/Anaiwan woman. 

We would also like to recognise Rachel Perkins, Elle Roseby and Laura Thompson, and thank them for participating in the AFC Talks, Voice to Parliament webinar. You inspired us with your courage and your motivating call to action: 

Be Active, Bring Yourself to This, Be Brave.

Thank you also to Kin Fashion’s Peter Naughton for driving this project and Eloise Bishop for making it happen.

And to Claire Ainsworth from Groundswell Giving, Courtney Miller from Next Generation and Marie-Claude Mallat from MCMPR for your generosity in orchestrating the photo shoot and press rollout that received such great support from the teams at Vogue, InStyle, Russh, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. 

We would like to acknowledge the industry leaders and brands who joined #FashionForYes: Country Road, Clothing the Gaps, Citizen Wolf, bassike, Alix Higgins, Spell, Ngali, Kloke, Bianca Spender, Genevieve Smart (Ginger & Smart), Anna Plunkett (Romance Was Born), Sarah Munro (Sarah & Sebastian), Emma Mullholland (Emma on Holiday), Mikey Nolan (Double Rainbouu), Jordan Askill, Hamish Tame (Le Specs), Akira Isogowa and industry figures including Glynis Traill-Nash, Kellie Hush, Paloma Garcia, Natalie Xenita, Jordan Turner, Bella Thomas and last but definitely not least, a special thanks to Clare Press for her relentless advocacy for this cause.

Indigenous Fashion Fund

Looking ahead, in 2024 we are focussed on maximising the opportunity we have through the activation of the AFC’s Indigenous Fashion Fund.

The fund will be used to undertake a listening exercise to better understand the key priorities for the First Nations fashion sector and to discuss how to establish governance structures that embed First Nations advice, engagement and advocacy through the AFC and broader industry. The model and approach will be developed in partnership with First Nations fashion peak bodies and leaders, with the first meeting to be held in the early part of 2024.

There is so much to do, but at the AFC, we remain determined and optimistic that together, we can ‘Be Active, Bring Ourselves to This, Be Brave’ and continue to support First Nations people on the journey towards reconciliation.

The AFC is proud to contribute 5% of membership fees to the Indigenous Fashion Fund, Join Us now.