Written by Alyce Evans and Principal, Jennifer Tutty
On the 9th May, at the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, something truly new to Australian fashion was introduced. However, it wasn’t a designer, collection or show-stopping garment that was making headlines.
In an important press conference, CEO of the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) Leila Naja Hibri, announced the launch of a new Australian Fashion Trade Mark (Australian Fashion TM).
What is the Australian Fashion TM?
The introduction of the Australian Fashion TM enables Australian fashion brands to seek certification to use this trade mark.
Using this trade mark will distinguish brands as falling within a set of criteria, which focuses on championing Australian made fashion products and Australian owned fashion brands.
It also certifies that those using the trade mark have been judged to meet Certification Criteria. This criteria looks at factors such as authentic Australian design, environmental commitments, social impact commitments, workplace gender equality and more.
Why has the trade mark been introduced?
In a press release from the AFC, the Council’s CEO, Leila Naja Hibri, says that this is “more than a trademark, this is an opportunity to showcase the best of Australia’s fashion talent. For example, when Italian fashion is mentioned, we immediately visualise a distinct brand identity of quality and elegance. In a similar way, we have now identified four key pillars that distinguish Australia’s Fashion DNA: effortless style, raw nature, boundless optimism and fearless innovation.”
Looking at the requirements to obtain certification to use the Australian Fashion TM, it appears that it is also intended to encourage fashion labels to manufacture their products in Australia (rather than offshore) and hire Australian employees. In turn, it is rewarding fashion brands who contribute to the creation of local jobs in fashion.
As Hibri says in the AFC’s press release, “The Australian Fashion trademark will be a driving force in building the industry’s growth trajectory to deliver substantial economic, social and environmental gains over the next ten years.”
Further, she comments that, “Australian Fashion™ will help more customers discover, explore and buy Australian fashion. The result will drive industry growth, more jobs and a greater contribution to the local economy that will future-proof the Australian fashion and textile industry.”
Requirements to be certified to use the Australian Fashion TM
The Australian Fashion TM is intended for use by Australian fashion brands, which create either physical or digital products, and meet the criteria for certification.
While it focuses on Australian made, the AFC notes on its website that it does “certify brands that produce off-shore as long as the majority of other business activities are conducted in Australia.”
To be eligible for certification, brands must:
1. Pass the Compliance Test
2. Satisfy the Certification Criteria
3. Sign the Declaration
To pass the Compliance Test, a fashion brand must produce physical or digital clothing, accessories and/or footwear.
It must also meet at least two of following criteria:
- Products must be Australian made – Must prove that at least 50% of goods are made in Australia.
- Business must be Australian owned – Must prove at least 75% Australian ownership of the business.
- The majority of the business’s employees must be Australian: Must prove that at least 75% of employees are based in Australia.
- Business must be Australian tax domiciled: Must prove that tax is primarily paid in Australia.
In addition to passing the Compliance Test, fashion brands applying for certification must meet the Certification Criteria.
To meet this criteria, a fashion brand must agree to the Australian Fashion TM Rules, which can be found here, and sign a Declaration. An example of the Declaration required can be found within the Australian Fashion TM Rules.
Broadly, these rules relate to authentic Australian design, Australian Fashion TM brand alignment, environmental commitments, and social impact commitments.
Additionally, for enterprise sized businesses (>$100million in revenue), there are additional rules regarding commitments to workplace gender equality, reconciliation action plans, diverse recruitment practices (particularly for First Nations) and the publication of a Modern Slavery Statement.
Benefits of being certified to use the Australian Fashion TM
If your brand is certified to use the Australian Fashion TM, then you can proudly display this trade mark as part of the promotion of your brand.
According to the AFC’s website, there are four key reasons to seek certification as an Australian fashion brand.
1. Reach: Amplifying your brand’s reach to customers nationally and globally.
2. Trust: The Australian Fashion TM is a mark of trust granted by the industry to applicable brands.
3. Recognition: Your brand will be recognised as a leader in Australian fashion and embodying the core, recognised qualities and values of Australian fashion.
4. Connection: Connect with other Australian fashion brands and like-minded businesses to drive change in the Australian fashion industry.
You may read more about each of these benefits here.
How to get certified
Brands can apply to be certified for the Australian Fashion TM through the AFC website here.
You may be required to submit supporting documentation. If so, the AFC has provided the following resource to assist with the preparation of supporting documents.
After you submit an application for your brand, it will be reviewed by the Certification Administrator. Following this, you will be notified as to whether your application has been approved or not.
Please note that licence fees may apply in relation to the Australian Fashion TM. Further information about licence fees is available on the AFC website here.
If your application is approved, you will be able to start using the Australian Fashion TM! You will also be able to log in to a special portal, where you can access the trade mark, as well as social and industry events, forums and workshops.
Additionally, you will be able to create a brand listing on the australianfashion.org brand directory. This directory will be going live in August 2022.
Written by Alyce Evans and Principal, Jennifer Tutty
Published 11 May 2022
If you have any legal questions relating to trade marks, fashion law or need assistance applying for certification for the new Australian Fashion TM, please contact us through our online form or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo from Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, shared for the purpose of reporting news.
The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter.