Sustainability in the Spotlight at Textile Conference

A round-up of RawAssembly’s ‘RAW TO A T’ sustainable sourcing event in Melbourne.

What do you get when you bring together some of the world’s most renowned fashion industry experts and a host of pioneering textile manufacturers and brands? A truly educational and inspiring event, that’s what.

We always knew RawAssembly’s ‘RAW TO A T’ event – a collaboration with T Magazine and BETA By STH BNK at Hanover House – was going to be an interesting and informative three days, and with a packed program of panel discussions, workshops and brand activations, it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The aim of the conference was to shine a light on sustainable solutions for the fashion and textile industries, facilitate discussion and debate around waste reduction and encourage new collaborations.

Here’s our quick round-up…

A particular highlight on day one was the morning keynote speech from Safia Minney MBE FRSA.

A globally recognised sustainable fashion pioneer, Safia founded the ethical clothing retailer People Tree and has been named by the World Economic Forum as an outstanding social entrepreneur. She is dedicated to ridding the fashion industry of modern slavery and her address was incredibly educational.

If you missed the talk, we highly recommend Visiting her website where you’ll find plenty of videos and other resources to explore. Safia has authored nine books!

One of our favourite panel discussions was Every fibre tells a story; How does fashion become transparent? The lineup included Shannon Mercer, CEO at FibreTrace and Sandra Capponi, Co-Founder of the sustainable and ethical brand ratings app Good On You. The focus of this panel was visibility in the supply chain and the importance of end-to-end traceability in relation to the future of the fashion and textile industries.
Other speakers who offered up expert insight over the course of the conference included Jordan Turner, Creative Director at T Australia: The New York Times Style Magazine, Fashion Designer Bianca Spender, Harold Weghorst, Global Vice President Marketing & Branding at Lenzing Group, and Leila Naja Hibri, CEO of the Australian Fashion Council, to name a few.

In between panel events, we explored some of the design exhibition showcases and stands dotted around Hanover House. A particular delight was the exhibition curated by Tencel Luxe (part of Lenzing Group).

A jaw-dropping array of designs from some of the world’s best-known fashion houses were on show. The curated collection of garments, all beautifully staged and lit, contained Tencel Luxe filaments.

Our key takeaways

  • Transparency is key for the fashion and textile industries. The cultural shift towards sustainability means consumers will demand this.
  • A collaborative approach is required, from textile producers down to individual retailers. All stakeholders need to be part of the solution.
  • There is financial assistance out there for people with innovative product and business ideas related to sustainability, waste reduction and the circular economy. Options include grants, mentoring and crowdfunding. Check out Sustainability Victoria’s Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre, i4Connect and Birchal.
  • We need to reduce our dependence on synthetic materials made from fossil fuels and embrace the alternatives.
  • Education and awareness are key to driving a shift in consumer behavior. People generally want to do the right thing, so we must make it easier for them to shop in a way that aligns with their values. Here at HoverIT, that’s our mission! With our unique Verified Tag system, organisations and certification bodies can bring their members and brand partners together on a single platform, making it easier for consumers to find and buy from them.

And that’s a wrap

Hats off to the organisers, including RawAssembly’s Thea Speechley, for showcasing what is possible with the right mix of drive, innovation, creativity and funding.