Global warming and climate change, waste, environmental pollution, water scarcity, these issues are challenging the current fashion industry model, and rightfully so. With growing numbers of consumers concerned about the social and environmental impacts of their fashion purchases, forward-thinking retail businesses and brands are responding with solutions underpinned by creativity, innovation and technology.
Fashion by its very nature is ever-changing, often drawing inspiration from and reflecting the times it finds itself in. As it has done time and again, it is rising to meet the demands of the mass consumer. Its answer? Circular fashion, a concept that designs waste out of the equation so that fashion follows a circular model and recycles residual waste rather than the “take, make, waste” linear fashion paradigm which has seen textile waste one of the fastest-growing waste streams in landfills over the last decade.
Australia is leading the way in the circular fashion revolution, with its second Australian Circular Fashion Conference (ACFC) to be held in March. Established in 2018 by a group of industry advocacy specialists and Australia’s most renowned sustainability experts, the first ever Conference held in Sydney was a resounding success, with business leaders from some of Australasia’s largest retail companies attending the event, including Wesfarmers and Australia Post.
The 2019 Conference is promising to be even bigger, with 500 business leaders and sustainability experts and consultants from large multinational companies including United Nations Global Compact, Lenzing, Arch & Hook, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Bluesign, Textile Exchange and Forum for the Future expected to be in attendance.
“This event presents a pioneering opportunity which does not exist anywhere else in the world to invest in fashion sustainability to secure market growth and economic stability,” says designer and ACFC Director, Camille Reed.
“We are in a prime position to embrace greater market awareness with all verticals in fashion – this conference will be one of the leading events in the world focuses on fast-tracking implementation and action for sustainability.
“Collaboration is the key. Stewardship and extended producer responsibilities in the Asia Pacific region have never been more pertinent.”
Some of the world-class global speakers at the 2019 conference will include:
- Professor Becky Early, MISTRA Future Fashion and London Chelsea College of Art
- Celine DeCarlo, Mara Hoffman
- Megan Meiklejohn, luxury brand Eileen Fisher NY
- Elin Larsson, Filippa K
- Brook Summers, Cotton Australia
- Giusy Bettoni, CLASS Eco Hub
- Ollie Milliner, Kathmandu, and
- Jill Dumain, Bluesign
According to ACFC, the size of that residual waste is enormous – currently averaging 2.25m tonnes per year in Australia, with an estimated value of $500 million in clothing. It is predicted that the fashion industry will be using two Earths’ worth of resources, with the demand for clothing rising by 63 percent by 2030.
“What we are doing is making sure that the decision makers in the industry have the information and knowledge that they need to help bring about change,” says Reed.
“In Australia, we can and will be the leaders of a global initiative that will really take our industry into a new era.”
Giving up full-time work to completely commit to this important cause, it’s clear Camille Reed is giving it everything she’s got to help accelerate positive change within the industry; she’s even outlined the goals she wants the Conference to achieve by 2024.
“What we are doing is the way of the future, and people must recognise that and get on board with it. The first conference was all about coming together and identifying the issues, and now we must take the actions that will have impact. We have come, we have seen – now we have to conquer.
“I am urging all stakeholders in the industry to attend the conference and be part of the movement for change. Fashion is one of the world’s largest industries, and that means we have power. We can really make a difference to the world by using that power for good.”
A new industry association, the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA) was formed shortly after the 2018 Australian Circular Fashion Conference in response to attendees’ requests for support in transitioning from a linear business model to full circularity. ACTA will serve as the voice of the industry and will develop frameworks to help members take measurable steps towards sustainability. Reed was established as the association’s Director.
The 2019 Australian Circular Fashion Conference will be held on March 21 in Melbourne.
Eco Warrior Princess is thrilled to be a media partner of this year’s conference. Purchase your tickets with our exclusive code ACFC_EWP2019 and receive 15% discount off ticket purchases (we will make some much needed revenue to help with the rising costs of operating this growing media brand). To purchase your tickets, click here.
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