The federal government is investing $1 million in the Australian fashion industry in a bid to promote locally designed and produced products to overseas markets.
The Australian Fashion Council will receive the funding and use it to fuel a local and international campaign that promotes Australian fashion, and an industry roadmap for the next decade.
In the budget, the investment was described to support the “growth of the Australian fashion industry by promoting demand creation and increased recognition of the innovation and design capabilities in Australian fashion”.
Christian Porter, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology said in a statement that the $1 million investment would fund the development of an Australian fashion certification trademark.
Porter said the trademark would promote the “high quality of locally designed and produced products to key overseas markets”.
The Australian fashion industry employs more than 200,000 people and has an export market valued at about $2.6 billion, about $20 million shy of Australian wine industry.
The Australian Fashion Council, the peak body for the textile, clothing and footwear sectors, has for a long time supported developing overseas markets for Australian fashion and textile businesses.
Leila Naja Hibri, chief executive of the Australian Fashion Council, told Vogue that a trademark will help position Australian fashion as a brand it its own right.
“Our lifestyle is one of the things that really sells us as an Australian brand in terms of fashion. Also our Australian heritage, our ethnic diversity, and our creativity, which is a little out-of-the-box—it’s different to what other countries bring to the table,” Naja Hibri said.
The criteria brands would need to meet in order to receive endorsement through such a trademark is unclear. And, given there are more brands that design their goods in Australia and produce them overseas compared to the number of brands designing and producing them locally, the trademark may only be open to a small range of businesses.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Sam Moore — founder and creative director of PYRA — says a trademark will be a “great initiative to promote locally made goods”.
PYRA, which is a luxury sportswear brand designed in Australia, has just started using local print factories to speed up its production and minimise its effect on the environment.
“However it’s always going to be challenging as the local market cannot make the technical type of outerwear [we use],” he says.