The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) has commissioned EY to conduct a landmark study examining the economic contribution of Australia’s fashion and textile industry.

The study will have two key phases, including a survey of fashion businesses and an in-depth economic study deriving data from quantitative sources. 

Ragtrader fully supports the survey as official trade media partner.

The survey will inform the economic analysis and help showcase the breadth of Australia’s fashion ecosystem, forming a powerful tool to champion the economic benefit of the sector and how the Government can help support it.

Through EY, the full privacy and confidentiality of participants is guaranteed.

The survey, which will take about 15 minutes, can be answered here until April 21. 

Below, Australian Fashion Council CEO Leila Naja Hibri discusses the project and its importance to Australia’s fashion and textile industry.

1. What are the top-line details of the broader EY study: who is involved, what are the stages and processes and what sources of information will be unearthed as a result?

Australia’s Fashion, Textile and Uniform Industry (commonly and hereafter referred to as the ‘fashion industry’) is widely misunderstood outside the industry itself, but is an integral part of Australian culture, society and economy.

It sits at the heart of a critical and multi-layered ecosystem that incorporates complex business models across education, workforce management, primary industries, design, product development, manufacturing, technology, supply chains, marketing, wholesale, retail, export, tourism, waste management, circularity and more.

Through the support of key industry stakeholders, the study has been commissioned by the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) and will be carried out by Ernst & Young (EY) - a globally renowned professional services and consultancy firm.

The study will have two key phases. The first is a survey of fashion industry businesses and institutions. The second is an in-depth economic study that will derive data from a variety of sources to enable the EY team to construct an accurate picture of the true value of the Australian fashion industry to the national economy.

The survey will collate a set of reliable data sets and insights to create a truly reliable and effective picture of the industry. Through EY, privacy and confidentiality of participants is guaranteed.

2. What sources will be used to create the findings outside the survey?

The data will be derived from a variety of sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), industry data from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), government export data and various other publicly available information as well as the industry survey.

From this, the most relevant industry data would be brought together through a high-level model.

A key component of the analysis is the industry survey which was developed by EY to confidentially and anonymously capture a robust and contemporary database. It will give a clearer picture of the direct and indirect of economic impacts and fill in data gaps including impact across cities and states.

3. How did the survey come about and how long has it been in development?

Our industry has been in desperate need for a study to quantify and qualify its width, depth and potential for many years. When I took over as CEO in early 2020, it became abundantly clear that we needed reliable data for the AFC to properly represent and advocate effectively on behalf of the sector and in order to effect policy change via fiscal, procurement & environmental interventions.

When COVID hit, we started working with DISER on scoping a study but the data available had some critical gaps which we believe significantly underestimate the size, impact and value of the industry to the Australian economy. The gaps include:

● The wholesale and export sales of Australian fashion brands that manufacture their products overseas (about 90% of brands)
● Fashion events and festivals.
● Work of freelancers, from creative input to stylists, production to name a few.
● Any sales and marketing direction and input.
● End of life product recycling, reuse and waste disposal.
● Spillover effects into tourism and Australia brand equity.

With this in mind, we realised that the Economic Study had to take priority in order for the AFC to do its work and to champion, support and guide the recovery and evolution of a thriving, resilient and inclusive fashion & textile industry.

4. What does the AFC hope this will do for the industry?

Much of the analysis of the fashion industry has focused on consumer trends - but less on economic impact and role of Government. There is an opportunity to bring insights together - championing Australian fashion in an engaging way while highlighting the economic benefit of the sector and how the Government can help support it.

There is an important opportunity to quantify and humanise the role of the industry and its role through the frame of the Covid-19 economic recovery.

What we don’t know is the broader impact of the sector and its comprehensive value to the economy including:

• GDP and regional economic impacts.
• Employment effects.
• Tourism activity.
• Value and impact across sectors.

The aim of the study is three-fold:

1. To fully value the economic impact the industry contributes to Australia.

2. To allow the AFC, on behalf of the industry, to advocate across multiple stakeholders for policy change and other key initiatives to reinvigorate an industry in need of a new pathway forward in a rapidly changing world.

3. To finally establish and have a seat at the table to craft and shape the future direction of the industry.

To do this, we need and would appreciate the extensive and wide participation of all industry players to have their contribution to the Australian Economy and Society counted within the study.

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