Cotton LEADS

Cotton Australia Takes Fashion to the Field
July 10, 2018

Leading Australian fashion and textile industry representatives toured Narrabri's cotton industry on Cotton Australia's annual farm tour


Leading Australian fashion and textile industry representatives toured Narrabri's cotton industry in April during Cotton Australia's annual farm and industry tour. The group, made up of iconic Australian brands, designers and textile not-for-profits first met for a round table discussion about current issues affecting the textile supply chain such as traceability, sustainable raw materials and labour.

The annual farm tour allows those outside the industry to see first-hand how cotton is grown and processed, and why Australian cotton is considered the most sustainable in the world.

Participants toured Auscott’s Narrabri farm and gin before moving on to the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) in Narrabri, where they heard presentations by world-leading cotton scientists.

“For many fashion industry participants on the tour, it was their first opportunity to see how cotton fibre is grown and processed,” Mr Kay says. “They really appreciated being able to see the source of the fibre that goes into the high-quality garments and homewares they ultimately produce.”

“Attendees were able to stand in a cotton field, touch and feel the fibre for themselves, ride in a cotton picker, and talk directly to growers and industry, leaving with a much better knowledge of how our cotton is grown, harvested, processed, classed and shipped.”

“They also left with a sense of the Australian cotton industry’s commitment to sustainable production and social responsibility, particularly in the workforce area, as well as how research and development underpins the improvements in the industry over three decades.”

Some of the biggest names in fashion and the NGO attended the tour, including representatives from Country Road Group, Hanes, Jeanswest, RM Williams, Sportscraft and Baptist World Aid.

Mr Kay says some tour participants were unaware of the industry’s sustainability achievements, such as a reduction in insecticide use of more than 90% over the past 15 years, and a water efficiency increase of more than 40% since 2003.

“Global interest in sustainable, responsible cotton production continues to build. Events such as ours play a vital role in informing important stakeholders about how our industry operates and why they can trust our growers and industry,” he says.

“Cotton Australia works hard to bring the story of Australian cotton to the world. With more and more consumers demanding environmentally sustainable and ethically produced fibres, Australia’s cotton industry is well placed to meet that demand.”

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