To help drive demand for Australian brands and future-proof the Australian fashion and textile industry, the Australian Fashion Council is developing an ‘Australian Fashion’ certification trade mark. In this article, we explore the eligibility criteria and look at the benefits of using the ‘Australian Fashion’ trade mark.

The Australian fashion industry

The Australian fashion industry is one of the largest industries in Australia, generating more export revenue than beer and wine and more jobs than mining and utilities.

According to a report released by the Australian Fashion Council Ltd (AFC) in May 2022, it is estimated that, in the short term, fashion and textile will generate $1.3 billion, and, over the next 10 years, it will become a $38 billion industry, creating 86,000 new jobs along the way. The below is a summary of the figures extracted from the report:

These numbers are staggering. With this recognised growth, the AFC is campaigning for Australian brands to produce more clothing, accessories and footwear locally.

The 'Australian Fashion' certification trade mark

A Federal Government grant was awarded to the AFC to develop both an 'Australian Fashion' certification trade mark (AF CTM) and a campaign to drive demand for Australian brands locally and internationally. Its purpose is to help more customers discover, explore and buy Australian fashion. The intention is to drive industry growth, create more jobs and a greater contribution to the local economy that will future-proof the Australian fashion and textile industry.

The AFC provided details of the AF CTM at this year’s Australian Fashion Week. The logo is still awaiting registration by IP Australia, the Australian government agency that administers Australian intellectual property rights.

Once the AF CTM is registered, the AFC has advised that it will be a symbol that promotes consumer confidence, and ensures that goods displaying the AF CTM are locally sourced and environmentally friendly. It is expected that the AF CTM will be registered after 13 November 2022, provided that no oppositions are lodged. Below is a copy of the trade mark and further details can be found on the AFC website:

Definition of certification trade marks

According to IP Australia, a certification trade mark identifies goods or services that possess a particular standard or characteristic. Standards commonly certified include quality, content, manufacturing method and geographic origin. While a standard trade mark is used to distinguish one trader’s goods or services from those of another trader, a certification trade mark is used by authorised users to guarantee that the goods or services possess a particular standard.

A well-known certification mark that is commonly used on fashion related products is the Australian Made certification pictured below:

Eligibility to use the AF CTM

Under the rules governing the AF CTM, brands must pass the Compliance Test, satisfy the Certification Criteria and sign the Declaration to gain Australian Fashion certification.

Compliance test To pass the Compliance Test, a brand must produce clothing, accessories and/or footwear, physical or digital, and satisfy at least two of the four criteria listed below:
  • be Australian Made: proving at least 50% of goods are made in Australia;
  • be Australian Owned: proving at least 75% Australian ownership;
  • have Australian Majority Employees: proving at least 75% of employees are based in Australia; and/or
  • be Australian Tax Domiciled: proving tax is primarily paid in Australia.
Certification criteria A brand must agree to the Australian Fashion TM Rules, which include:

Authentic Australian design:

  • Design, development and R&D are headquartered in Australia;
  • Commit to original and authentic design;
  • Omit any cultural appropriation in the design process, including First Nations culture, as well as recognise and
  • Implement the Protocols For Using First Nations Cultural And Intellectual Property In The Arts (ICIP) rights; and
  • Educate your organisation on these commitments.

Australian Fashion Brand Alignment:

  • Reflect the Australian Fashion™ brand attributes and values;
  • Hold a premium profile by committing to elevated creativity, and quality materials and make; and
  • Contribute creatively and economically to the Australian Fashion™ being a design-led business with at least one years’ market presence or an established standing as a heritage Australian brand.

Environmental Commitment:

  • Have and publish a transparent environmental impact strategy within nine months of certification that includes: Current status and future goals; Commitment to environmentally responsible decision-making; Consider Environmental impacts, including but not limited to Clean Water & Sanitation, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.
  • Educate the organisation on the above commitments.

Social impact commitment

  • Have and publish a transparent social impact strategy within nine months of certification that includes: Current status and future goals; Commitment to socially responsible decision-making; Consider Social impacts, including but not limited to: Good Health and Wellbeing outcomes, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequality), practices upholding high standards of Customer Stewardship through honest, diverse and inclusive marketing, and through ethical data management and privacy policies; and
  • Educate the organisation on the above commitments.

For enterprise size business with less than $100m in revenue

  • Demonstrate a commitment to improve workplace gender equality;
  • Implement a ‘Reconciliation Action Plan’ or equivalent that exceeds, within three years of certification;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diverse recruitment practices, particularly for First Nations; and
  • Publish a Modern Slavery Statement.

View the list of supporting documents required for the application 

If successful, an applicant will be granted a licence to use the certification mark for two years for a fee and be required to continue to adhere to the certification rules. The annual licence fee is based on the turnover of the licensed brand. The minimum fee is $550 for businesses with less than $1 million turnover.

The benefits of AF CTM

The short answer is, it sets your brand apart. If your brand is certified to use the AF CTM, then you can display this trade mark as part of the promotion of your brand. With consumers becoming increasingly conscious about sustainability, it assists with easily identifying the brands that are predominately sourced and made in Australia.

Further, it allows your brand to develop the innovative strategies it needs to proactively design your products in Australia, commit to original design that is respectful of other cultures, and adopt sound social and environmental practices.

According to the AFC’s website, there are four key reasons to seek certification as an Australian fashion brand.

These include:

  • Reach: Amplifying your brand’s reach to customers nationally and globally.
  • Trust: The AF CTM is a mark of trust granted by the industry to applicable brands.
  • Recognition: Your brand will be recognised as a leader in Australian fashion and embodying the core, recognised qualities and values of Australian fashion.
  • Connection: Connect with other Australian fashion brands and like-minded businesses to drive change in the Australian fashion industry.

Considerations when applying for the AF CTM

Given that there will be ongoing obligations associated with the use of the AF CTM, careful thought must be given to assess whether you can maintain those obligations and whether it is suitable for your brand.

As the trade mark for the AF CTM is still awaiting registration, we have not yet seen any brands that have been certified to use the AF CTM. We anticipate that there will be a further campaign by the AFC and that applications will likely occur over the next 6-12 months.

While certification marks aren't new, establishing a unique identifier for Australian fashion is a valuable innovation for the industry, which local fashion businesses will be able to benefit from.