The British Fashion Council (BFC), the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) have joined forces to launch what they are calling a “groundbreaking partnership” called the Circular Fashion Innovation Network (CFIN).
The CFIN will sit under the BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) to bring together fashion industry innovators, investors, academia and broader stakeholders through an action-led roadmap to accelerate the UK to a leading circular fashion economy.
The network will be co-chaired by BFC chief executive Caroline Rush and UKFT chief executive Adam Mansell and will receive 1.8 million pounds from funds jointly allocated to the BFC and UKFT to run the network, build the community, accelerate knowledge sharing to members and industry and to activate required industry-led research.
The initiative launches with a two-year ambition plan to create an industrial scale change programme for the UK fashion and textile industry through a lens of circularity and innovation and will “play an essential central convening role” in UKRI’s 15 million pound Circular Fashion programme to accelerate positive change within the fashion industry.
Commenting on the initiative, Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said in a statement: “We look forward to The Circular Fashion Innovation Network being the 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 UK. It builds on the BFC’s Circular Fashion Ecosystem work, established in 2020 as a multi-year endeavour to establish not just what needs to be done to achieve circularity in our fashion industry, but who needs to do it.
“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 covers 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 UK fashion industry.”
BFC partners with UK Fashion & Textile Association and UK Research & Innovation to launch major circularity and innovation programme
The network will feature an Advisory Board spanning luxury, premium, high street, supermarket and value-led businesses, including Marks & Spencer, New Look, Chanel and Sainsbury’s, as well as representatives from UKRI, Academia and NGOs. The board’s goals will be to focus on the vision of the network, receive briefings from the Working Groups and address scalability across the UK.
The CFIN is the first industry-led programme of this kind supported by UKRI and its working group leads will report to the UKRI programme board. There will be six working groups within the programme: Circular business models; Recycling infrastructure; Sustainable manufacturing; Novel technology; Diverse and future-proof workforce; and Green growth.
Mansell, chief executive of the UKFT, added: “It has never been more important to combine knowledge and networks to tackle the challenges of sustainability. We’re excited to work with the BFC and other partners via the Circular Fashion Innovation Network to establish both direct interventions and long-term plans to help the transition towards a new circular economy in the UK.
“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.”