LEADING FIGURES from the Australian fashion and textile sector toured Narrabri’s cotton industry on May 2 — visiting a farm, gin and research station to learn first-hand about the raw materials that go into cotton garments and homewares.
The event incorporated a tour of Auscott’s Narrabri farm and gin, where attendees saw cotton harvesting and processing in action, followed by presentations by world-leading cotton scientists at the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI).
The day attracted some of the biggest names in fashion, including representatives from Jeanswest, Target Australia, H&M, IKEA, Hanes Brands Australasia, CottonON, Camilla and Marc, Country Road Group, Specialty Fashion Group (representing Rivers, Katies and more), CB Clothing, ABCH, the Australian Fashion Chamber, Baptist World Aid and Save the Children.
“The tour connected both ends of the cotton supply chain, allowing brand owners, retailers and designers to meet and learn from the farmers who grow some of the world’s highest quality, sustainable natural fibres,” says Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay.
“Attendees were able to stand in a cotton field to feel and touch the fibre for themselves, ride in a cotton harvester, talk directly to growers and industry, see cotton being ginned and hear from our excellent research scientists.”
“The response from the enthusiastic participants was phenomenal — they came away with a much better knowledge of how cotton is grown in the Northern Inland of New South Wales, harvested, processed, classed and shipped, and the industry’s commitment to sustainable production with full traceability.”
“Importantly, they also understand that Australia is at the cutting edge of our social responsibilities in the workforce area, as well as how research and development underpins the improvements of the industry over three decades.”
Mr Kay says some tour participants were surprised to learn of the industry’s sustainability achievements, such as a reduction in insecticide use of more than 90 per cent over the past 15 years, and a water efficiency increase of more than 40 per cent since 2003.
“Global interest in sustainable, responsible cotton production continues to build, and so events like this play a vital role in informing important stakeholders about how our industry operates, and why they can place their trust in our growers and industry,” Mr Kay says.
“Cotton Australia works hard to bring the story of Australian cotton to the world, and as more and more consumers demand environmentally sustainable and ethically produced fibres, Australia’s cotton industry is well placed to meet that demand.”
Cotton Australia acknowledged the support of leading grower, ginner and marketer, Auscott, for its sponsorship of the day, and thanked the team at Australian Cotton Research Institute for hosting the group. Cotton Australia also thanked the National Farmers’ Federation, of which Cotton Australia is a member, and the Australian Cotton Shippers Association for their involvement on the day.