Media Release: From London to Australia - Building momentum for sustainability in the fashion industry

12 July 2013:  While fashion industry heavy weights from around the world meet in London today to discuss building momentum for sustainability in the fashion industry, Australia continues to lag behind with only a handful of local labels focused on creating economies of scale to compete in a globally competitive marketplace.

Hannah Parris, Director of eco-fashion label Audrey Blue, is in London attending the eco-fashion industry conference Source Summit 2013 hosted by the visionary Ethical Fashion Forum.

Ms Parris said at this year's London Fashion Week exhibition, almost a third of showcasing brands had a sustainability focus. (Where is this info from?)

“In London, they see there's a real opportunity to build on this momentum,” said Ms Parris.

“At the Summit we'll be looking at how to constructively address the challenge of sustainability in the clothing industry, share and learn from best practice and innovation.

“I've personally been inspired by pioneers of eco-fashion and I'm excited to be meeting them and learning from their experience.

“In the wake of the Bangladesh crisis, the bad news for ethical garment consumers in Australia is that signing up to an legally binding worker safety agreement for Bangladesh factories - while great for the safety of workers in that country - is irrelevant to improving the ethical credentials for the vast majority of clothing available for purchase in Australia.

“This is because most is sourced in China.

“According to trade statistics published by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Australia imported about $5.3 billion worth of clothing and footwear products from China in 2012, compared to about $315 million worth of imports from Bangladesh.

“China is reported to use forced child labour (child labour outside the family unit and considered harmful to their welfare) in the harvesting of its cotton crop, despite its commitment to International Labour Organisation Conventions banning this practice.

Ms Parris said the sustainability message that should be shared far and wide in Australia is that sweat shop labour and the use of dangerous chemicals to make our  clothing and textiles imports do not have to be a mainstay in Australia.

“We can build on the momentum of the recent well publicised concerns and become leaders in the sustainability field.

“Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are hotbeds for fashion innovation. Labels and retailers in these big cities have the opportunity to not only build on the momentum discussed by London's fashion elite, but make it mainstream – make it the cultural norm.

“Boutique business aside, let's start looking a mass production techniques that create certified organic and fairtrade garments, but have an affordable price tag.

“What a different world; what a different Australia that would be,” said Parris.

Audrey Blue is the first (and sadly only) Australian women's clothing label who has secured the highest international order of clothing and textiles certification.

It's called GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and we are also FLO (Fairtrade International) certified.

This month Audrey Blue is releasing Australia's first GOTS certified women's business shirts and first GOTS certified women's underwear. They're easy to wear and affordable.

Audrey Blue eco-fashion can be purchased online at www.audreyblue.com. Stockists can contact stock@audreyblue.com for an online 'look book'.

Media Contact: Audrey Blue Publicist Elissa Jenkins 0418 786 986 or elissa@audreyblue.com.au. (Stock available for fashion shoots on request). Hannah is currently in the UK, but is available for interview via Skype or telephone.