Voluntary National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme Seamless was launched earlier this year by the Australian Fashion Council. Hon. Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek emphasised the potential to regulate and make this scheme mandatory if not embraced by enough businesses and the deadline for setting up an operational Product Stewardship Organisation was set for June 2024.
Hosted by Ragtrader, the Ragtrader LIVE Race to Regulation conference brought together retailers, brands and industry experts to delve into the progress of the scheme so far and discuss how the fashion industry is tackling its significant and still growing waste issue.
Danielle Kent, Seamless Project Director for the Australian Fashion Council, shed light on the scheme’s advancement as the industry marches towards the June 2024 target. Kent explained how the scheme provides a gateway for brands to invest in new revenue models including repair, remanufacture and rental.
Danielle provided insights into the crucial phase of setting up the scheme’s constitution and governance structure, which remains ongoing. She spoke about the need to involve diverse voices such as subject-matter experts, circular economy thinkers and small-to-medium enterprises to equip the scheme against challenges like administrative complexities, financial viability and tracking material flows.
The conference also featured a panel with some of the scheme’s early adopters like Lorna Jane, KMD Brands and The ICONIC. Panellists shared their experiences, challenges faced and motivations behind joining the scheme and their critical role in bringing it to fruition.
Lorna Jane founder Lorna Jane Clarkson spotlighted the need for Australia, being an isolated island, to develop better reuse and recycling systems to keep materials circulating locally and encouraged other brands to join the scheme.
“The most important thing is that everyone is involved, and it needs to be a solution for everybody,” said Clarkson.
“We get to have a say in how we put it [the scheme] together.”
Clarkson also said that by partaking in this scheme, Lorna Jane will be providing their customers with the service to reuse, repurpose or recycle their Lorna Jane products.
Shasta O’Loughlin, Head of ESG at KMD Brands, acknowledged the unique challenges that brands might face when joining this scheme. While financing wasn’t a major barrier for KMD Brands as a larger brand, Shasta highlighted the challenge of finding suitable schemes and groups to collaborate with a shared purpose.
Shasta stated the aim for Seamless is not just a legislative outcome, but also making the scheme operational and functional for business.
For deeper insights into the 12-month transition phase of Seamless, visit the Scheme Design Report.