Australian Fashion Brand Certification: Are You Eligible and Interested?

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To help stimulate demand for Australian brands and ensure the sustainability of the Australian fashion and textile industry, the Australian Fashion Council is developing an ‘Australian Fashion’ certification mark. In this article, we explore the eligibility criteria and look at the benefits of using the “Australian Fashion” brand.

The Australian fashion industry

Australia’s fashion industry is one of Australia’s biggest industries, generating more export revenue than beer and wine and more jobs than mining and utilities.

According to a report published by the Australian Fashion Council Ltd (FCA) in May 2022, it is estimated that in the short term, fashion and textiles will generate $1.3 billion and over the next 10 years it will become a $38 billion industry, creating 86,000 new jobs in road course. Here is a summary of the numbers from the report:

These numbers are staggering. With this growth recognized, the AFC is campaigning for Australian brands to produce more clothing, accessories and footwear locally.

The certification mark “Australian Fashion”

A federal government grant was awarded to the AFC to develop both an Australian Fashion certification mark (AF CTM) and a campaign to drive demand for Australian brands locally and internationally. Its aim is to help more customers discover, explore and buy Australian fashion. The intention is to stimulate industry growth, create more jobs and a greater contribution to the local economy which will sustain the Australian fashion and textile industry.

The AFC provided details of the AF CTM during this year’s Australian Fashion Week. The logo is still pending registration by IP Australia, the Australian government agency that administers Australian intellectual property rights.

Once the AF CTM is registered, the AFC has indicated that it will be a symbol that promotes consumer confidence and ensures that products displaying the AF CTM are locally sourced and environmentally friendly. . It is expected that the community mark AF will be registered after November 13, 2022, provided that no opposition is filed. Below is a copy of the mark and further details can be found on the AFC website:

Definition of certification marks

According to IP Australia, a certification mark identifies products or services that possess a particular standard or characteristic. Commonly certified standards include quality, content, manufacturing method and geographical origin. While a standard mark is used to distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of another trader, a certification mark is used by authorized users to ensure that the goods or services possess a particular standard.

A well known certification mark that is commonly used on fashion related products is the Australian Made certification pictured below:

Eligibility to use AF CTM

Under the rules governing the AF CTM, brands must pass the compliance test, meet the certification criteria and sign the declaration to obtain Australian Fashion certification.

Compliance testing To pass the compliance test, a brand must produce apparel, accessories and/or footwear, physical or digital, and meet at least of them of the four criteria listed below:
  • be made in Australia: prove that at least 50% of the products are made in Australia;
  • be Australian owned: prove that at least 75% Australian ownership;
  • have majority Australian employees: prove that at least 75% of employees are based in Australia; and or
  • be domiciled in Australia for tax purposes: prove that the tax is mainly paid in Australia.
Certification Criteria A brand must agree to the Australian Fashion TM rules, which include:

Authentic Australian Design:

  • Design, development and R&D are based in Australia;
  • Commit to original and authentic design;
  • Omitting any cultural appropriation in the design process, including First Nations culture, as well as acknowledging and
  • Implement protocols for the use of First Nations cultural and intellectual property rights in the arts (ICIP); and
  • Inform your organization about these commitments.

Australian Fashion Brand Alignment:

  • Reflect Australian Fashion™ brand attributes and values;
  • Hold a high profile by committing to high creativity, quality materials and workmanship; and
  • Contribute creatively and economically to Australian Fashion™ as a design driven business with at least one year in the market or an established reputation as a heritage Australian brand.

Environmental commitment:

  • Have and publish a transparent environmental impact strategy within nine months of certification that includes: current status and future goals; Commitment to making decisions that respect the environment; Consider environmental impacts including but not limited to drinking water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, climate action.
  • Sensitize the organization to the above commitments.

Social Impact Pledge

  • Have and publish a transparent social impact strategy within nine months of certification that includes: current status and future goals; Commitment to socially responsible decision-making; Consider social impacts, including but not limited to: health and well-being outcomes, gender equality and reduced inequalities), practices that meet high standards of managing customers through honest, diverse and inclusive marketing, and ethical data management and privacy policies; and
  • Sensitize the organization to the above commitments.

For enterprise-sized businesses with less than $100 million in revenue

  • Demonstrate a commitment to improving gender equality in the workplace;
  • Implement a “reconciliation action plan” or equivalent that exceeds, within three years of certification;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to various recruitment practices, particularly for First Nations; and
  • Issue a statement on modern slavery.

Consult the list of supporting documents required for the request

If successful, an applicant will be granted a license to use the certification mark for two years for a fee and must continue to comply with the certification rules. The annual fee is based on the turnover of the licensed brand. The minimum fee is $550 for businesses with less than $1 million in revenue.

The benefits of AF CTM

The short answer is that it sets your brand apart. If your brand is certified to use AF CTM, you can display that mark as part of promoting your brand. With consumers becoming more aware of sustainability, it helps to easily identify brands that are primarily sourced and manufactured in Australia.

Additionally, it enables your brand to develop the innovative strategies it needs to proactively design your products in Australia, engage in original design that is respectful of other cultures, and adopt sound social and environmental practices.

According to the AFC website, there are four main reasons to apply for certification as an Australian fashion brand.

These include:

  • Reach: Amplify the reach of your brand with customers nationally and globally.
  • Trust: The AF CTM is a mark of trust granted by the industry to the brands concerned.
  • Acknowledgement: Your brand will be recognized as a leader in Australian fashion and embody the essential and recognized qualities and values ​​of Australian fashion.
  • Link: Connect with other Australian fashion brands and like-minded businesses to drive change in the Australian fashion industry.

Considerations when applying for AF CTM

Since there will be ongoing obligations associated with using AF CTM, careful thought should be given to assess whether you can maintain these obligations and whether it is appropriate for your brand.

As the AF CTM mark is still pending registration, we have yet to see any marks that have been certified to use AF CTM. We anticipate there will be another AFC campaign and requests will likely take place over the next 6-12 months.

While certification marks are nothing new, the establishment of a unique identifier for Australian fashion is a valuable industry innovation that local fashion businesses will benefit from.

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