Head of Australian Fashion Council stepping down

David Giles-Kaye has announced he will step down as CEO of the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) at the end of this year.

The head of the industry association for Australia’s fashion and textile sectors said he would remain a supporter of the AFC and contribute to its programs and activities going forward.

“It has been an incredible experience for me to be involved in such an exciting and interesting industry and to have worked with such great people over this time,” Giles-Kaye wrote in an email on Monday.

The AFC was formed in 2018 when the Council of Textile & Fashion (CTF) merged with the Australian Fashion Chamber. Giles-Kaye, who had previously been CEO of the CTF, was appointed CEO of the new member organisation.

He told Inside Retail that the fashion sector had undergone significant change during his tenure at the CTF and AFC.

“The focus on design has really developed, which is great because to be a successful industry our companies need to be design-driven. I’m not just talking about aesthetic design,” he said, “I’m talking about business models, store design, engagement with consumers… Companies are investing more and more in design and being leaders in that sense.”

Giles-Kaye said the sector had also become more focused on ethics and sustainability over the past four years.

“Four years ago we were trying to work out how to address that as an industry. There’s still a huge way to go, but we’ve developed some fantastic practices… Everybody I know is heavily engaged in sustainable and ethical practices,” he said. “We need to keep supporting the people leading that.”

Giles-Kaye said his replacement would be named soon and take over as CEO in the new year.

Giles-Kaye will return to his earlier career as a consultant to businesses in the fashion sector, focusing on how to create value.

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