Bassike Resort 22. Credit: Sonny Photos

This morning I found a rare moment to read through my inbox. What I was not expecting on day two of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week was to be completely blown away by not just the runway, but a PDF of detailed research. The numbers? That the local fashion and textiles industry employs 498,000 (315,000 full-time) Australians. Reportedly, more people than in the Mining and Utilities industry.

The staggering statistics arrive from a report commissioned by the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) to EY, in collaboration with Afterpay. High Fashion to High Vis – The economic contribution of Australia’s fashion and textiles sector is first-time research and is the most comprehensive study of the entire fashion and textiles ecosystem in the country.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 31: A model poses backstage ahead of the Romance Was Born show during Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021 Resort ’22 Collections at Carriageworks on May 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Overall, the industry’s economic impact both direct ($16.3 bn) and indirect ($10.9 bn) represents upwards of 1.5 percent of the national economy. The industry also generates $7.2 bn in export revenue, totalling 1.7 percent of all Australian exports – more than double the value of wine and beer exports.

In addition, it also creates far more opportunities for women with the sector employing 77 percent compared to the national average of 47 percent. The industry includes a huge number of roles including pattern makers, colourists, photographers, seamstresses, stylists, and uniforms and workwear production.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 31: Models walk the runway during the BONDI BORN show during Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021 Resort ’22 Collections at the Northern Wharf Boardwalk, Circular Quay, on May 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“Such a comprehensive assessment of the Australian fashion industry and its far-reaching economic impact is long overdue,” saysAfterpay Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Anthony Eisen. “It is a privilege to be associated with this report, and with the Australian Fashion Council, as we work together to focus on the long-term, sustainable future of the industry on behalf of consumers and retailers.”

IMG Vice President-Managing Director, Fashion Events and Properties Asia-Pacific Natalie Xenita says: “Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is the centerpiece of our industry, and celebrates the spirit and ingenuity of our designer community. This week will see the industry at its best, while delivering the economic benefit of the most important marketing event of the year for the Australian fashion industry.”

You can read the full report, here.