A look from Sydney-based brand Romance Was Born's spring 2018 collection, presented during the Australian Fashion Chamber's "Australian Designers Abroad" pop-up showroom in Paris.


SYDNEY — Australia’s two key fashion industry bodies are joining forces.

The three-year-old, designer-focused Australian Fashion Chamber is to merge with the 65-year-old Council of Textile & Fashion, the peak body for Australia’s clothing, textile and footwear industries, it was revealed Wednesday in Sydney.

A name change for the proposed merged group is due to be discussed at the respective entities’ annual general meetings at the end of the year, said David Giles-Kaye, executive director of the Council of Textile & Fashion, with the first meeting of the new body slated for early 2018.

The Australian Fashion Council could be one of the possibilities for the new name, Giles-Kaye said.

The Australian Fashion Council name is owned by the CTF, with one of the AFC’s current board members, Karen Webster, a former chair. The existence of so many fashion organizations has led to some confusion in the Australian media.

The new industry body will benefit from having established offices in the country’s two largest cities and a combined membership that spans the entire Australian fashion and textile industry value chain.

The Sydney-based AFC boasts 90 designer members, while the Melbourne-based CTF has “several hundred” members, according to Giles-Kaye, ranging from textile manufacturers to fashion tech startups through to large retailers.

Both not-for-profits are privately funded through memberships, with the AFC benefiting from some Australian federal government backing for its “Australian Designers Abroad” pop-up multibrand showrooms staged in Paris and New York during the collections seasons.

The seventh Australian Designers Abroad showroom will be staged in London from Feb. 16 to 20, in collaboration with Woolmark.

AFC chair and Vogue Australia editor in chief Edwina McCann described the proposed union of the two organizations as an “incredibly exciting opportunity for Australian fashion, with the prospect to really expand and build on both organizations’ achievements to a great future.”

According to CTF chair and Nobody Denim managing director John Condilis, the announcement represents “a turning point for Australian industry and comes at a timely moment to strategically shape our future across the whole spectrum of design and textiles.”

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