Cotton Australia represented the industry at the Second Fashion Forum convened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, last month in Sydney. The event was also supported by the Australian Fashion Chamber, and provided an opportunity to tackle issues of mutual interest with representatives from across the fashion supply chain and other industry influencers. Additionally, the event provided a platform to discuss Cotton Australia’s Cotton to Market program.
Participants included representatives from primary producer groups (Cotton Australia and Australian Wool Innovation), government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade), brands (Collette Dinnigan, Camilla and Marc, DION LEE, etc), media (Vogue Australia, Harpers BARAAR Australia) and retailers (Parlour X, AMP Capital Shopping Centres), education providers (RMIT) and cultural institutions (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences/Powerhouse) and more.
Cotton Australia’s participation in the event is part of the organisation’s continued efforts in the Cotton to Market strategy that positions Australian cotton in the world fibre market. The strategic direction of the Cotton to Market program has evolved to increasingly focus our efforts on influencing the influencers of the cotton supply chain – a move which is already paying dividends for the program. Working with supply chain influencers allows Cotton Australia to increase the opportunities for Australian cotton to be represented when brands and retailers seek responsibly produced fibre.
The event represented a great opportunity to discuss an aid initiative secured by Cotton Australia via the Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform. The BPP granted $500,000 from the Australian Government to BCI, with these funds matched by global brands and then invested in training for Pakistan’s cotton farmers. The project is part of the Government's #fashiondiplomacy agenda to pursue foreign policy objectives through fashion.
Additionally, the Minister indicated her continued support for Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Scheme. Our Cotton to Market program continues to accelera te, bringing benefits to the industry by growing the number of Australian and global brands and retailers committed to specifying Australian cotton in their supply chains. A number of Cotton Australia’s Cotton to Market activities attracted a rebate through the Scheme.