A ground-breaking partnership is on board, as UK fashion trade bodies BFC, UKFT, and UKRI are leading a new joint venture – the Circular Fashion Innovation Network (CFIN).
Through a circular and innovative lens, the British Fashion Council (BFC), the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) are collaborating on a two-year project.
The fashion industry has always been a big business for the UK. Being the largest creative industry, it accounts for almost 80% of exports, 800,000 jobs, and a revenue of £26 billion. Hence, the CFIN joint commission aims to accelerate the country into a prosperous circular fashion economy.
Central to UKRI’s commitment, the CFIN is a first-of-its-kind industry-led programme. The project will run alongside the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF), a collaboration between the BFC and UKFT.
According to data by the UKFT, the industry recycles less than 1% of its textiles. With an annual textile waste production enough to fill Wembley Stadium 17 times over, the CFIN helps reduce these industrial dumps. It will also display a collective roadmap to curb these issues and lower environmental impact.
The Circular Fashion Innovation Network (CFIN) programme has six working groups:
- Circular Business Models – Focus on waste management and ensure circular business practices.
- Recycling Infrastructure – Conduct a deep dive into closed-loop recycling processes, offering a stronger foundation for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
- Sustainable Manufacturing – Help lower environmental impacts by achieving supply chain balance, minimising the gap between brands and manufacturers, and regulating various traceability tools.
- Novel Technology – Integrate novel technologies that support circular fashion.
- Diverse and future-proof workforce – Reduce skill gaps by organising a diverse, competent workforce.
- Green Growth – Aimed to create eco-conscious circular fashion products, services, and IP.
BFC, UKFT, and UKRI Unite to Support an Innovation-Led Approach
Under the same umbrella formed by the BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion, fashion innovators, revolutionists, investors, and broader stakeholders will sit together to discuss the future of the fashion industry.
Moreover, the BFC’s Chief Executive, Caroline Rush, and UKFT’s Chief Executive, Adam Mansell, will co-chair the council. The duo will receive £1.8 million in funds to manage the network effectively and accelerate specific industry-led research. Thus, the £15 million Circular Fashion Programme will bring positive changes within the creative industry.
In this network, the advisory board has a notable role to play – from bringing the focus of the network’s vision to addressing scalability. Further, the board consists of luxury, premium, high street, supermarket, value-led businesses, and members from UKRI, academia, and NGOs.
According to Rush, the Circular Fashion Innovation Network will catalyse galvanising the fashion industry. This collaboration will, in turn, yield effective changes to tackle big challenges. Additionally, the BFC’s Circular Fashion Ecosystem, established in 2020, will be a foundation for this network. Rush also elaborated that what’s more crucial is who should lead toward a better future, rather than what needs to be done to achieve this.
The joint commission will see different industries connecting for a common cause. Thus, the transition towards a new circular economy will help build a more resilient and competitive fashion sector for future generations.