The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) and eBay Australia have just announced a $200,000 Circular Fashion Fund. The fund is aimed at startups specialising in circular fashion solutions and sustainable practices in the fashion industry.
According to recent statistics from the AFC, Australians purchase 27 kilograms of new clothing annually while discarding approximately 23 kilograms.
Statistics from Earth.org also show that 92 million tonnes of textile waste is produced each year — an alarming figure that has even been felt by designers here in Australia.
With this in mind, the Circular Fashion Fund aims to cut down this number by utilising emerging tech from startups to transform customer behaviours towards fashion.
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“We understand that eBay can play a role in circular fashion by using our scale and expertise for good. We are committing support to small businesses to drive positive change through innovation in the fashion industry,” Brooke Eichhorn, eBay Australia’s head of fashion, said.
“These initiatives will help revolutionise how fashion is created, consumed and recycled, making sustainable fashion practices more accessible for everyone.”
According to eBay research, there is currently a 45% upswing in pre-loved fashion purchases over the past two years. Additionally, a third of those surveyed stated that half their wardrobe comprises pre-loved fashion items.
This isn’t particularly surprising considering the ongoing cost of living crisis, as well as an increased interest in sustainability. Pre-loved fashion platforms such as Depop have also become incredibly popular with younger generations over the past couple of years.
“To transition to a circular economy by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050, the Australian fashion industry needs to fundamentally transform how clothing is designed, produced, consumed and disposed of,” Australian Fashion Council CEO, Leila Naja Hibri, said.
“For decades, eBay has been leading the charge in recommerce, driving the circular economy through its resale marketplace, in particular for fashion. eBay’s Circular Fashion Fund not only compliments but helps accelerate the roadmap for Seamless, the national clothing stewardship scheme, bringing us closer to our goal of achieving clothing circularity in Australia by 2030.”
The winners of the fund will be made by a panel comprising industry leaders such as KITX Founder Kit Willow, AFC’s Danielle Kent, Sendle CEO James Chin Moody, UTS and TAFE NSW’s Dr Lisa Lake, and eBay Australia’s Brooke Eichhorn, among others.
Applications are open now until November 10, 2023. A shortlist of six finalists will pitch their ideas to the panel, with the winner taking away a $100,000 grant. Two runners-up will each receive $50,000.
Winners of the Circular Fashion Fund will not only receive financial backing but also attend a six-week program including mentoring sessions, workshops and networking events. They’ll also have the ability to spotlight their fashion-focused tech solutions via the eBay platform.