An alliance of Australian fashion brands have called on the federal government to increase its humanitarian quota of refugees from Afghanistan, with pledges the industry will help support, train and employ new migrants.
Last month the Australian government announced a first 3,000 humanitarian places to be allocated to Afghan nationals, as the Taliban took control of the country and chaos erupted in Kabul Airport.
In an open letter which should be sent to Premier Scott Morrison later this month saw nearly two dozen fashion brands including Romance Was Born, The Upside, KitX, Ginger and Smart, Outland Denim andWitchery, have so far added their signature.
"As a sector, we are ready to support the refugees of Afghanistan to build a safe and fulfilling life in Australia, ”the letter said.
" This is something we have already done. L Australia has a long tradition of decisive and generous response to humanitarian crises, as evidenced by the special hosting of Kosovar Albanians in 1999 and Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War, as well as, more recently, the hosting of refugees from Syria and Iraq.
"Many members of these communities have been employed by the Australian fashion industry, particularly in manufacturing, and we can do it again. ”
The letter also calls lhe Prime Minister to grant permanent protection to all Afghan refugees and prioritize family reunification for Australian residents and citizens - many of whom work in the garment industry - with their immediate families in Afghanistan.
The open letter is part of a larger campaign, Voices for Afghanistan, led by Aus Fashion Aid, a collective created in 2021, initially to help Indian garment workers during the Covid crisis, and The Social Outfit, a clothing company that has provided internships and / or jobs to more than 300 refugees from Asia, Africa and the Middle East since 2014.
The CEO of The Social Outfit, Camilla Schippa, said Australia 's $ 27.2 billion fashion industry has a long history of employing migrant women, offering economic resilience and creating employment opportunities while controlling themThe rise of English is only in its infancy.
Schippa said the open letter to the Prime Minister was "obvious" because the option of rallying the fashion industry for a fundraiser was not practical.
"No money is coming in Afghanistan at the moment people cannot even access their bank accounts "she said.
" And we thought the message for the government to increase its reception of Afghan refugees would be a much stronger appeal, if at the same time the industry says that we are determined to do what we can to employ them when they arrive.
"Integration really only comes when you have a job. "