The state of textile and fashion circular communities in the Greater Brisbane Region.

a blue and white map of Brisbane centring on the CBD and river

This project explores circularity in urban and regional contexts in relation to fashion neighbourhoods and pre-consumer textile waste flows. Information collected through the project outlines attendant issues of sustainability, supply chains, access to textiles and manufacturing, and the socio-cultural factors needed to sustain fashion networks to transition to a circular community model for textile reuse. The project argues for solutions centred on localised social exchange or ‘contact zones’ alongside waste recovery and recycling.

The project employs a values network approach to map and thus provides visibility of the key contributors, resources and connections for circular exchange between fashion neighbourhoods, communities and the urban landscape. The project was informed by the Circle Economy model “City Portrait Canvas”, used at a 2021 forum with the fashion and textile industry and state government stakeholders, which provided rich data about values and priorities. This forum was followed by a survey and a second forum in 2022 to communicate results to the stakeholders.

The aggregation of intergenerational connections through identified small and medium business, artisans and communities provides the basis for contact zones of meaningful local economies of production, material reuse and circular practice. The goal of these circular hubs is to inform future circular-oriented urban development within existing neighbourhoods for sustainable change within cities.

One of the key findings was the industry’s orientation toward a well-being economy. The “creation of meaningful work for vulnerable and disadvantaged and under-employed sectors of the community”, along with sustaining “quality of life through conversations, extending beyond textile to textile”, and “improve resourcefulness” scored high in the circular Brisbane vision. In the study, intergenerational approaches to skilling and upskilling; the institution of a repair culture; reuse, regeneration, retrofit and redistribute clothing and textiles within community and small and micro-enterprises, were also mentioned as an opportunity to build social connections of likeminded people who share similar values, and create resilient networks.

A snapshot from the Forum conducted at Brisbane Business Hub in October 2021

Funded by Centre for a Waste-Free World, 2020

Chief Investigators


Other Team Members

  • Carla van Lunn
  • Caitlan Hopper