BFC, UKFT, and UKRI Forge a Pioneering Partnership for Circular Fashion and Innovation

In a landmark development, the British Fashion Council (BFC) has teamed up with the UK Fashion & Textiles Association (UKFT) and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to launch a game-changing initiative. This groundbreaking venture, named the Circular Fashion Innovation Network (CFIN), is set on a two-year mission to catalyze a significant industrial transformation within the UK’s fashion and textile industry, with a laser focus on circularity and innovation.

While the fashion industry currently contributes an impressive £29 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product, concerning statistics have emerged. Shockingly, the UK ranks highest in Europe for the consumption of new clothing, according to findings from The Circular Fashion Ecosystem Report by the Institute of Positive Fashion in 2021. This high consumption paradoxically coexists with low usage and a troubling surplus of waste. Therefore, there is an urgent imperative to unite key stakeholders and establish an action-oriented platform to drive the sustainable fashion agenda forward, as asserted by the BFC.

Under the visionary co-leadership of Caroline Rush, CEO of BFC, and Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, CFIN will find its home under the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) umbrella. This dynamic network will serve as a nexus, bringing together industry leaders, innovators, investors, academia, and a diverse array of stakeholders, all with a shared goal: to accelerate the UK’s journey towards global leadership in circular fashion.

CFIN prides itself on inclusivity, welcoming participants from across the fashion spectrum, including luxury and premium brands, high street retailers, supermarket chains, and value-focused businesses. Additionally, it will feature representation from UKRI, academia, and prominent NGOs. Notable founding members include representatives from iconic brands like Chanel, Sainsbury’s, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, alongside Helen Connolly, CEO of New Look, Helen Dickinson, CEO of The British Retail Consortium, and Richard Price, M&S’s MD of Clothing & Home.

The advisory board’s primary responsibilities encompass shaping the network’s vision, receiving updates from working groups, and exploring the potential for scalability across the UK.

Beyond these responsibilities, CFIN will play a pivotal role in UKRI’s ambitious £15 million circular fashion program, designed to catalyze positive change within the fashion industry. Collaboration with other leading research bodies in this domain is also on the horizon. Additionally, briefings on the program’s progress will be extended to a wider audience through the BFC’s Colleges Council and UKFT Education Partner Network, ensuring that academia plays a pivotal role in this transformative journey.