No longer just a space to sell your old washing machine, today, eBay Australia unveiled an exciting opportunity for sustainable fashion enthusiasts and forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
The Circular Fashion Fund, supported by the Australian Fashion Council (AFC), will provide $200,000 in funding to Australian start ups specialiing in circular fashion solutions. Applications for the initiative are now open, with a mission to revolutionise the fashion industry and promote sustainable practices.
With Australians purchasing an average of 27 kilograms of new clothing each year and discarding 23 kilograms annually, it’s clear that the fast fashion industry needs an even faster solution. The Circular Fashion Fund aims to unite emerging technologies and innovative solutions from start-ups that can reshape consumer behavior and drive the more sustainable style choices and a circular fashion economy forward.
Its launch aligns perfectly with the growing trend of Australians embracing pre loved fashion items. Recent eBay research indicates that nearly 45% of Australians surveyed have increased their purchase of second hand fashion in the past two years. This data reflects a broader shift in consumer behavior, with one in three Australians reporting that half of their wardrobe consists of pre loved fashion and accessories.
A panel of experts from diverse fields such as fashion, academia, logistics, and sustainability will oversee the selection process for the fund. It includes industry stalwarts such as Kit Willow (Founder of KITX), Danielle Kent (Seamless Project Director for the Australian Fashion Council), James Chin Moody (Founder & CEO of Sendle), Liandra Gaykamangu (Founder and Creative Director of Liandra), Dr. Lisa Lake (Director of UTS and TAFE NSW’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Fashion & Textiles), Rosanna Lacono (CEO of The Growth Activists), and Brooke Eichhorn (Head of Fashion at eBay Australia).
Brooke Eichhorn, eBay Australia’s Head of Fashion, also expressed the company’s commitment to promoting sustainable fashion practices, stating, “We understand that eBay can play a role in circular fashion by using our scale and expertise for good. We are committing support to small businesses to drive positive change through innovation in the fashion industry. These initiatives will help revolutionise how fashion is created, consumed, and recycled, making sustainable fashion practices more accessible for everyone.”
Following the application period, the panel of judges will invite a short list of six finalists to pitch their ideas, and they will subsequently choose the three funding recipients. The top winner will receive a $100,000 grant, while the two runners up will each receive $50,000.”
Beyond their financial support, eBay Australia is also committed to offering mentorship, industry networking opportunities, and a platform for the winners to show case their innovative circular fashion solutions to a wider audience.
All three recipients will participate in a six week program that features mentoring, networking opportunities, and work shops, including a session hosted by Clare Press, Founder of The Wardrobe Crisis, to learn how to market their concepts effectively.
Leila Naja Hibri, CEO of the Australian Fashion Council, emphasised the Fund’s significance in driving Australia towards a circular economy and achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050. “To transition to a circular economy by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050, the Australian fashion industry needs to fundamentally transform how we design, produce, consume, and dispose of clothing,” she says.
“For decades, eBay has been leading the charge in recommerce, driving the circular economy through its resale marketplace, in particular for fashion. eBay’s Circular Fashion Fund not only complements but helps accelerate the roadmap for Seamless, the national clothing stewardship scheme, bringing us closer to our goal of achieving clothing circularity in Australia by 2030.”
Businesses, social enterprises, and charities with technology, products, and services that can contribute to advancing fashion’s circular economy are encouraged to apply at www.ebay.com.au/fashionfund. Applications will be accepted until November 10, 2023.