A $1 million stitch in time for Australia’s fast fashion addiction – Sydney Morning Herald

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Our name is Australia, and we have a fashion waste problem. It’s been only seconds since we purchased some unnecessary sneakers, T-shirts or polyester dresses.

Now the federal government is dispensing with the need for anonymous confessions, as Environment Minister Sussan Ley delivers a $1 million grant to the Australian Fashion Council that will be used towards addressing the ugly side effects of our fast fashion addiction.

“I don’t think we realise that Australians are the second-largest consumers of textiles in the world. We consume 27 kilograms of clothing and throw away 23 kilograms,” Ms Ley said. “We need a road map to 2030 to halve the waste. That’s 800,000 tonnes of textile waste. Of course, we need to act on it.”

Ethically-minded founder of Melbourne brand Elk, Marnie Goding, welcomes the $1 million grant awarded by the Federal Government to the Australian Fashion Council.

Ethically-minded founder of Melbourne brand Elk, Marnie Goding, welcomes the $1 million grant awarded by the Federal Government to the Australian Fashion Council.Credit:Luis Ascui

The grant will fund the creation of Australia’s first National Product Stewardship Scheme for clothing textiles to devise strategies for improved recycling, recovery and reuse of textiles.

“There is lots of consciousness within the fashion sector of the problems surrounding importing incredibly cheap clothing that we end up throwing in the ground in Australia, leading to contamination,” Ms Ley said. “This demands a stronger call to action.”

With British brand Topshop leading the fast fashion charge into the Australian market in 2009, followed by Zara in 2011 and H&M in 2014, concerns have been growing for years over our casual consumption, but Ms Ley said that only now has there been enough support to act.

“If you asked someone five years ago, I don’t think it would resonate the way it is now,” she said. In June, clothing textile waste was added to the National Priority Waste List by Ms Ley, alongside electronics, plastic oil containers and child car seats.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley and AFC acting chief executive Kellie Hush, tackling fashion’s textiles problem together.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley and AFC acting chief executive Kellie Hush, tackling fashion’s textiles problem together.Credit:Alex Ettinghausen, James Brickwood

The $1 million grant seems quite little and quite late for Marnie Goding, founder of ethically-designed womenswear label Elk, which is taking part in a sustainability-themed show as part of Melbourne Fashion Week on Wednesday.

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