Camille Reed is a circularity advocate and a fashion nut; two things which rarely go hand in hand. She's championing the future of sustainable design and attempting to change the outlook of the Australian fashion industry, through her annual event, the Australian Circular Fashion Conference.
Amidst planning and prepping for the Melbourne edition of the ACFC, Camille found time to answer a few questions on circularity, sustainability and all things positive change...
Why is circularity relevant to Australian fashion brands and retailers?
If fashion brands want to stay relevant over the next five to ten years, a significant investment has to be made now in the engagement of supply chain stakeholders and customers in closing the loop of sustainability. All major consultancy firms are stating that circular economies are the next major innovation coming to the industry, and Europe and the US are leading the charge, with the Australian industry positioning itself as a global leader.
Why is the 2019 Australian Circular Fashion Conference a history-making event?
This year we’re taking it up a notch. We have bigger sponsors, a bigger event space and bigger goals. We’re hosting the best in global talent to really speed up progress in Australia and the structure has been designed to answer the ‘how to’ questions as much as to inspire action. On top of that, we have a VIP industry evening, a full day of workshops and a University Hackathon, all running alongside the event. Not to forget, we’re also launching an Australia-first industry association. Leaders in the industry are calling this event 'history in the making' because of the sheer momentum it’s gathering. Getting rival brands in one room has in recent years been an impossibility, but we’re proving with real leadership and direction, change can be made.
You have some of the world's most recognised sustainable fashion brands participating in the conference and workshops. Why have you specifically asked these brands to attend?
We are honoured and excited to be hosting such incredible experts in Australia, and Melbourne is extraordinarily lucky to have them. After receiving a lot of feedback from the last event, and after researching topics for the 2019 conference, we went searching for the best in their niche from around the world. We’re literally flying in experts from Stockholm, New York, Milan, Switzerland, and closer to home, from New Zealand. It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for any brand to hire these experts internally, so we’re proud to be presenting such quality to the Australian market. There will also be opportunities for the conference and workshop guests to meet the experts over the course of the activities. The speakers will be in popular demand, so I recommend taking the right opportunities to say hi!
You’ve had extensive success with your textile design studio, BY MILLI. How has that experience helped with the Australian Circular Fashion Conference?
Well, it’s funny that you say that. When I working in a large fashion label, I was always frustrated with the lack of thought that went into creating collections. When I made the change to freelancing behind BY MILI, I was researching recycled swatches to present my own artworks to fashion houses. In doing so, I came across an industry of professionals who were all doing amazing things, and I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great if the fashion industry started collaborating on these problems, rather than hiding behind intellectual property laws?' So, I floated the idea and received a lot of support and the timing was right, so I ran with it.
How can consumers get involved and contribute to making fashion circular?
At this stage, the ACFC event is an industry-only event, although getting behind the sponsors and the brands that are really pushing hard to make a real impact in the circular economy is a great start. For example, Spell and the Gypsy Collective, Cotton Australia, Glam Corner, Mastani, and especially the platforms who support consumer-facing content like The Fashion Advocate, Ethical Clothing Australia and Planet Ark - the public can support those! Consumers can also get vocal about their expectations and push brands on social media. Share your thoughts with any industry professionals you know and help us drive the movement - there's power in numbers!
Industry tickets for the 2019 Australian Circular Fashion Conference can be purchased at australiancircularfashion.com.au and as always, think sustainably and shop ethically with your wardrobe.
The Fashion Advocate x