Victoria’s New Support Fund That Benefits Australian Fashion | Ecobuy
Victoria’s New Support Fund That Benefits Australian Fashion

The Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) initiative has just made $10 million available in a new Business support fund. The CEBIC have partnered with the  Victorian Government to make this fund possible. The fund will support projects and  businesses in their efforts to reduce waste, reuse and repurpose materials, remanufacture,  and upcycle.

It’s a huge step in the right direction and the grant will benefit everyone  from businesses, associations through to non-profits and the consumer. The initiative is  part of the Victorian Government’s wider plan to ensure the state see’s a more  sustainable future. Partnering with Recycling Victoria, the government has pledged  around $300 million to various projects that will see thousands of new jobs created. The  first round of grants will open on 20 November 2020 and close on 12 March 2021, so  there is still time to get your applications in.  

So where does my fashion brand fit into all of this you ask? Well, funding has been made  available to businesses manufacturing wood and fibre products, textiles, chemical  products and durable goods. This means that fashion will not be the only benefactor with  Australia’s boutique cosmetics industry falling into the description too. This is a huge  win for the latter with limited recourses and product waste increasing! Now has never  been a better time to eco-proof your business and the Vic government has just made it  easier. 

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Why should the fashion industry jump on board? 

The fashion industry is now one of the biggest in the world, accounting for more than  2% of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP). However fashion comes with its  baggage too, it’s one of the world’s most polluting industries, only second to oil. So how  has fashion, a seemingly inconspicuous polluter, become less green than aviation and  agriculture?  

Fast fashion. A word that has become prevalent in modern society. Human’s crave instant  satisfaction these days, and there’s a price to pay for suppressing your need for speed.  The environment. It’s a simple equation, yet it’s one we choose to ignore. Thankfully, in  recent trends, we are starting to see a demand and supply of recycled textiles however  the fast fashion curve is still rising. For those who are unaware of what fast fashion is, chances are that you have already brought into it more than once. The phrase refers to a  very lucrative business model which produces garments that are fast and cheap, often  replicating catwalk styles and looks for a fraction of the price. While it makes fashion  available to the masses, it’s harmful beyond the obvious environmental impact. Between  2010 and 2015 alone, fast fashion retailers increased by 9.7%.

2020 was a breakthrough year for the slow fashion movement with over 90 million impressions on social media. Photo: Who What Wear

2020 was a breakthrough year for the slow fashion movement with over 90 million impressions on social media. Photo: Who What Wear.

Globally, we now purchase around 80 billion new items of clothing a year. That’s a hike of  around 400% in just a few decades. Not only are we purchasing far more textile, but we  are also disposing of textile at an alarming rate. In the US, the average person is  responsible for around 82 pounds of textile waste and much of that ends in landfill.  

Australia sadly is not exempt. 85% of our wardrobes eventually end up in landfill.  Furthermore, the average Aussie consumes 27 kilograms of new textiles a year, putting  the land down-under second behind the US in new textile consumption. Does this mean  that Aussie’s are very invested in keeping up with trends or maybe fast fashion is just far  more in-demand here? That’s a story for another day.

While the fast fashion production process is harmful, many forget that the materials used  are far from eco-friendly. The synthetic fibres often used in fast fashion items, such as  polyester, nylon and acrylic derive from the very materials we are trying to stop using. Polyester for example is produced using coal and petroleum by initiating a chemical  reaction that involves acids and alcohol. Like any petroleum product, polyester can take  up to a thousand years to decompose in landfills. And when polyester garments are  washed, tiny fragments of the material can be introduced into our water supply and that’s  bad news for us and marine life.  

Model He Cong during the March 2020 Paris runway show featuring Stella McCartney who has long advocated for sustainable fashion. Photo: WSJ/GETTY IMAGES

Model He Cong during the March 2020 Paris runway show featuring Stella McCartney who has long advocated for sustainable fashion. Photo: WSJ/GETTY IMAGES

There is hope though, many brands including the aforementioned Stella McCartney are  stepping up and taking the environment seriously. The Victorian Government’s grant can  help fashion brands realign their sustainable vision. Sustainable Victoria is offering  grants from $75,000 to $1 million for individual businesses and collaborative  partnerships to “apply” and “implement” circular economy opportunities. There are  available streams.  

Stream one, labelled “Identification”, grants up to $200,000 of funding with a 2:1 ratio of  co-contribution. This stream will support businesses to investigate how to apply and  adapt circular economy opportunities and approaches. Stream two, labelled  “Implementation”, grants up to $500,000 with a co-contribution ratio of 1:1 for 

individuals and $1,000,000 for collaborative partnerships that will implement solutions  across multiple businesses. However, to apply for stream two, your business or project  must target waste reduction or increased processing capacity. For more information  about the specific requirements, head to the Sustainable Victoria website or follow this link. 

Interested and think your business could benefit? Don’t wait to hop on board! The future  of fashion must become and remain sustainable and it will take a collaborative effort to  achieve that. That means every brand, designer and retailer must work towards the target.  However, the consumer should also make an effort to understand where their garments  are coming from and why some manufacturers are directly part of the bigger problem!

FAQ’s

What does fast fashion mean?

Fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing. Garment production utilizes trend replication and low-quality materials in order to bring inexpensive styles to the public.

How do you avoid fast fashion?

1) Buy Less and Buy Better. 2) Shop in charity shops, vintage shops and take part in clothes swaps. 3) Don’t buy fast fashion on the premise you’ll donate it later. 4) Shop ethically online.

What fabric is most eco-friendly?

1) Organic Cotton – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10. 2) Lenzing Tencel – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10. 3) Hemp – VETTA Sustainability Score: 9/10. 4) Linen – VETTA Sustainability Score: 8/10. 5) Silk – VETTA Sustainability Score: 8/10.

About the Author:

Jonathan is a fashion and beauty photographer who also writes for numerous publications around the world. His topics range from fashion and lifestyle to travel and technology. Sustainability, renewable energy and healthy living are constant features of his writing.

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