Reweaving the fabric of fast fashion

08 May 2024

Reweaving the fabric of fast fashion featured image

Meriel Chamberlin, a visionary textile industry expert is heading off overseas on her Churchill Fellowship to help build Australia’s circular textile economy.

Meriel said: “There’s a lot of talk about circularity at the moment, but it’s disconnected from the people who actually make the stuff. It’s being talked about by people who have never actually dealt with a pallet of stuff, nor set foot in an actual warehouse.”

Decades of sending textile production to offshore low-cost locations has led to a disconnect in national and international strategic understanding and knowledge of this critical industry and the choices to do it differently, regeneratively and fairly — to be circular and creative rather than exploitative and wasteful.

“In Australia right now we can grow fibre, but we ship it offshore, and then we buy yarn back to make cloth. It doesn’t make sense and we lack sovereign capabilities,”

“So we can make textiles and garments in Australia, but we can’t spin a yarn at scale,”

“We can’t even make a bandage in this country at the moment from scratch,”

“We are mostly linear at the moment. We take, make, dump or downcycle while off-shoring our recycling and huge volumes of second hand garments.”

Meriel heads next week to Italy, Turkey, United Kingdom Netherlands and Belgium on her Churchill Fellowship to learn best practice circularity in healthcare and workwear textiles.

“I am so excited for Meriel about to embark on her journey into the heart of global best practices in zero waste textiles,” said Rachael Coghlan, CEO of the Churchill Trust.

Meriel said: “This about connecting aspiration with implementable reality. We can learn from overseas. Textiles have not stopped being circular in parts of Europe for more than 100 years,”

“That’s why I’m going overseas on my Churchill Fellowship to cherrypick from world’s best practice. What’s making sense overseas commercially now in fibre spinning and textile recycling,”

Read more about Meriel

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