Students are to innovation what fuel is to fire. And there is no better way to ignite the 2019 Australian Circular Fashion Conference, than by letting young minds light the match beneath a burgeoning era of sustainable fashion.

This year, the Australian circular fashion conference has a compelling new addition, the Circular Fashion Strategies Hackathon.

The first program of its kind in Australasia, the ACFC Hackathon Challenge partnered industry leaders, such as Aldi, Salvos and The Woolmark Company, with teams of university students in a joint effort to overcome barriers faced by real-life businesses in their quest to become more sustainable.

For 2019, the theme driving the Hackathon was material reuse. Our three University teams, from Massey New Zealand, RMIT Melbourne and Queensland’s QUT, have just spent an intensive two days developing a business case showcasing the ways innovation can lead change in the apparel and textile industry.

 

The ACFC is positioning the project as a global leading initiative.

 

Working alongside a representative from their industry partner, the teams have had the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel made up of industry leaders.

What’s more, ACFC audience members also have the chance to hear pitches from our participants – something not to be missed.

The Hackathon’s partnerships cradle the sweet spot that captures the best from innovative young minds, along with the expertise and boldness of experienced industry disrupters.

The university teams, have been offered a chance to tackle real world challenges with the guidance of an international industry forum. They’ve been operating with the latest emerging research about the best sustainable practices, in a realistic setting that mirrors expectations of business, including deadlines, strategic analysis of issues, and real-life barriers to operation.

An unrivalled design-thinking project, the Hackathon is a way of uniting student who might come from diverse disciplines under a common mission towards sustainable, circular fashion – and in time, pursue circularity in industries across the board.

And crucially, the Hackathon offers university students vital experience working with industry, sparking the makings of a solid network of career contacts.

Guess what? the industry partners have won out too. Simple and resource-savy, the Hackathon utilises the minds of some of the most promising students in leading Australian and New Zealand universities in order to overcome hurdles relating to uniforms, apparel, waste, collections, design, and procurement or supply chain.

 

The Hackathon offers university students vital experience working with industry.

 

It’s a chance for businesses to stand out, disrupt, lead and take advantage of a market on the rise.

The business cases that have developed over the two days will actually come to light. In return for their participation, the ACFC has committed to support each project to finalisation, broker collaborations to establish further pursuits towards circularity, and will explore funding for ongoing research and development.

ACFC will be looking to ensure that these ideas form strong case studies for the new industry association ACTA. In future events and challenges the ACFC will be able to offer student teams greater coverage, extending their innovative solutions while building upon a strong solutions offering for brands.

The ACFC is positioning the project as a global leading initiative, founder of the event, Camille Reed, is determined to deliver industry solutions, not just talk about them.

Having worked in fashion for more than a decade, and it’s no secret she’s on a mission to turn the industry’s traditional take-make-waste model around on its head.

Camille is the founder behind the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA) and The Australian Circular Fashion Conference (ACFC), leveraging her background, she is striving to see significant impact from every level, not forgetting the significance grassroots change can have.

“The topic of conversation is so rich across the global industry, sustainability is at that sweet spot that we’ll be able to consider it the norm in the coming years,” Camille said.

“It helps set the stage for a cooperative search for sustainable solutions in the fashion and textile sector.”

“It’s very much about systemic change across an entire industry,” she said.

The Hackathon has been just one way. We look forward to changing the future of fashion alongside you.