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Report calls for urgent redesign of WA’s fashion industry

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A report on the sustainability of Western Australia’s fashion industry has called for immediate action on improving the way clothing and textiles are circulated, to extend the life of materials and cut waste.

The Curtin University-led report entitled ‘The State of Circularity in Fashion and Textiles in WA’ is the result of a year-long research project undertaken by the Western Australia Circular Fashion Consortium, which includes fashion research partners from Perth’s South Metropolitan TAFE.

Consortium convenor Dr Anne Farren, a Senior Lecturer at Curtin’s School of Design and the Built Environment, said fashion needed a complete rethink to take it beyond a product which is recycled through charitable organisations such as Good Sammys, calling for a round table of community and industry leaders to drive change.

Dr Farren said clothing waste was the next key battleground behind food waste, in the push to reduce waste going to landfill in Australia, with the 33-page report mapping out a pathway for WA’s fashion design industry to address the growing challenge.

“The report identifies the need for immediate and systemic action required to support the adoption of circular practice within the local fashion industry,” Dr Farren said.

“The Australian Fashion Council estimates more than 200,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfill each year in Australia, and there is an urgent need to reduce the huge volume of clothing-based textile waste currently going to landfill.”

“We have recommended the development of a clothing and textile roundtable with delegates from local and state government, the regional charitable recycling sector, academia, and research, fibre growers, the textile processing sector, the waste management sector, clothing manufacturers and fashion enterprises.

“This would form the foundation for ongoing dialogue and collaboration to strategically converge efforts to address product stewardship, eliminate waste from our systems, and address the pressing concerns posed by current textile waste dilemmas.”

WA fashion start-up Fibre Economy co-founder and consortium member Molly Ryan said the report unveiled the unique characteristics of WA’s clothing and textile sector, which includes a high proportion of small businesses, and the impact of distance and isolation from major fashion centres.

“These are key factors which could affect the implementation of strategies that could secure a reduction in clothing textiles waste, but we also have evidence that WA’s fashion industry is motivated,” Ms Ryan said.

“This report explores a new circular model, which would incorporate improvements in clothing and textile design, and better systems to keep clothing-based textiles in circulation after use.

“We have examined the diverse stakeholders, practices and material flows of the WA fashion and textiles industry in response to the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme, and we now have a comprehensive report that outlines the current state of circularity in fashion and textiles within Western Australia.”

You can read ‘The State of Circularity in Fashion and Textiles in WA’ report online here: The Circular Economy | Research (

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