British Fashion Industry Launches Circular Innovation Network – WWD

British Fashion Industry Launches Circular Innovation Network – WWD

LONDON — The British Fashion Council, the U.K. Fashion & Textile Association, and U.K. Research & Innovation have come together to launch what’s touted to be a “groundbreaking partnership” called the circular fashion innovation network, or CFIN for short.

CFIN sits under the BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion platform and is co-chaired by Caroline Rush, chief executive officer at the BFC, and Adam Mansell, CEO at UKFT. The two organizations will allocate 1.8 million pounds to the initiative.

Unveiled in 2020, the Institute of Positive Fashion was meant to be a resource for businesses looking to ramp up their sustainability efforts, urging them to meld global collaboration with local action.

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The CFIN is also touted to play a key role in UKRI’s circular fashion program to accelerate positive change within the fashion industry. Its working group leads will report to the UKRI program board. Related projects run by academic institutions will be able to contribute to this network.

The network comes with an advisory board, with representatives from various sectors of the fashion business, such as Chanel, John Lewis, New Look, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and British Retail Consortium, as well as members from UKRI, academia, law and consultancy firms, and NGOs.

The board aims to focus on the vision of the network, receive briefings from the working groups, and address scalability across the U.K.

Rush said CFIN will act as a “catalyst for essential transformation within the fashion industry.”

“Collaboration has always been our guiding principle in effecting change. The new circular fashion innovation network rests on this very spirit. Our cross-sector advisory board will combine and advance novel technologies and approaches, which we hope will create a world-class blueprint here in the U.K.

“BFC and UKFT have a proven track record of working together on government relations and international trade. It now makes sense that we bring together our two networks, which cover fashion and textile designers, retailers, manufacturers, tech businesses, government, media, professional services, investors and consumer audiences to tackle our biggest challenge — our impact on the planet and with that the future of the U.K. fashion industry,” Rush added.

Mansell noted that he is excited to “establish both direct interventions and long-term plans to help the transition toward a new circular economy in the U.K.” via CFIN.

“Our particular area of focus will be sustainable manufacturing and recycling infrastructure, which we believe will be key drivers in helping to build the most resilient, sustainable and competitive sector for future generations,” he added.

Tom Fiddian, who manages Innovate U.K.’s funding program under UKRI, said, “Innovate U.K. has already seen a significant increase of groundbreaking U.K. innovations in this space, which we are supporting, and we believe that these additional investments will be transformative for the sector.”