Country Road funds IFM fashion fibre project

Meriel Chamberlin, owner and founder, Full Circle Fibres; Associate Professor Christopher Hurren, Deakin Institute for Frontier Materials; Sam Yearwood, commercial manager, Geelong Textiles. PHOTO CREDIT: Country Road

An Institute for Frontier Materials project is one of the first grant recipients of Australian lifestyle brand, Country Road’s inaugural Climate Fund.

Three projects will receive a share in the $1.5 million Climate Fund, which aims to invest in projects with a positive climate impact. Of the successful projects is Mud to Marle – a fashion industry collaboration led by Full Circle Fibres, a B Corp certified social enterprise, alongside Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials and local fibre producers including Geelong Textiles, Geelong Dyers, Ridgehaven (wool grower) and Australian Super Cotton (cotton grower).

Mud to Marle will focus on turning low value wool fibre into a high value product. The project will pilot and test proof of concept end-to-end on-shore manufacturing, including spinning, knitting, weaving and dyeing in Australia. Circularity and climate is central to this project, which in addition to using ‘waste’ wool fibres, will support local production and low impact production methods. The long-term aim of this project is to grow on-shore manufacturing capabilities and circular production systems within Australia.

Some of the research for this project will be completed at the Futures Fibres Facility at IFM, which is supported by the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).

The Climate Fund grant will contribute $147,000 to fund production, including the sourcing of raw fibre, dyeing, spinning, knitting and weaving as well as sampling. Country Road will act as an industry mentor, supporting the project team with guidance and feedback throughout the process. A percentage of the grant will also contribute towards storytelling to share project learnings and opportunities.

Elle Roseby, managing director of Country Road, says the brand is excited to support the first year of Climate Fund grant recipients in driving positive change.

“We believe that partnerships are key to tackling industry-wide challenges and driving deep, long-term change. We are thrilled to be able to support those driving innovation at the grassroots level, and look forward to working alongside the first three finalists,” she says.

The other successful projects were Unlocking Emissions Reductions in the Fashion Industry Supply Chain – a toolkit for farmers by Landcare Australia and Working with Wool Growers to Protect Plains-wanderer Grassland Habitat by Trust for Nature. The Thamarrurr Youth Indigenous Corporation also received an honorable mention for its Remote First Nations Community Fashion and Textiles Project.

In 2023, Country Road will call for grassroots projects that mitigate climate change and build climate resilience to apply for funding. Applications will re-open for Country Road’s Climate Fund in October, register here for more information.

Read more about Country Road’s Climate fund here.