The Hub was well represented at this interesting conference

A large team from Deakin University attended the Australian Circular Fashion Conference in St Kilda on 21st March: Xungai, Joe, Nolene, Alessandra, Chris, Emma, Marzieh and Surya were joined by Catherine McMahon – Manager Major Projects at the Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University.

Some of the facts were startling: women, on average, use only 30% of their wardrobe, meaning a large amount of textile waste often ends up in landfill; the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. We heard inspiring presentations from some fashion brands who are working to address these issues and are already making great advances in sustainability; Filippa K from Sweden, Eileen Fisher and Mara Hoffman from the US. Consideration of their material supply chain, emphasising slow fashion and taking back clothes at end-of-life for recycling or sale in a second hand outlet are just some of the ways these brands are moving towards sustainability.

Student teams from RMIT, QUT and Massey (NZ) tackled industry problems from Aldi, Salvos and Woolmark in a Hackathon and presented their innovative solutions at the conference. The RMIT team, working with Woolmark, won for their proposal of an app which provides information on the woolen garments, from how they were made, how to care for them and what to do at end-of-life.

After lunch we heard from Cotton Australia before a panel discussion on regenerative businesses featuring leading Australian companies: Australia Post, Salvos Stores and GlamCorner (clothing rental service). An interesting discussion developed with the message coming out that there is a desperate need R&D to help with shifting the fashion industry towards sustainability.

The day ended with a presentation from C.L.A.S.S. Eco Hub, an Italian based company positioning itself as a global resource for smart material innovation, education, marketing and communication for the textile industry.

There were ample opportunities for networking throughout the day where we made many connections, and discussed some interesting problems facing several companies. Some of these conversations have continued after the conference and we are looking forward to playing a part in supporting the textile industry towards sustainability.