To celebrate Australian Fashion Week 2022, our Digital and Intellectual Property team take a look at the latest trade mark trend and how it will help support Australia's fashion industry.

Australian Fashion Council Campaign

In May 2021, the Federal Government awarded the Australian Fashion Council Ltd (AFC) a grant to develop an 'Australian Fashion' certification trade mark (CTM), in an effort to bolster the fashion industry by creating a unique identifier for Australian fashion in local and international markets.  The CTM will not strictly apply to Australian made fashion, but rather products created by Australian brands. 

After a year of development and driving the campaign for certification, the AFC have launched the freshly designed certification mark, its website ( and what it stands for at Australian Fashion Week 2022.  Once registered, the logo below will be a symbol of Australian fashion, its distinct style and the standards set by the AFC in relation to homegrown quality. 


What is a certification trade mark?

A standard trade mark registration is a unique identifier of goods and services and distinguishes an owner in the marketplace.  A certification trade mark differs in that it certifies the quality or accuracy or standard of the goods and services claimed, such as the origin, material or mode of manufacture. 

The certification mark does not indicate the owner of the goods, but rather that the goods are certified to meet the quality or standard set by the owner.  While it has a single owner, the certification mark can be used by other approved persons, if they meet the specific rules governing the use of the certification mark.  Some well-known certification marks include:

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Woolmark Australian Made National Heart Foundation of Australia

Certification marks are a valuable way to communicate to consumers that your product meets a certain quality or standard.  The process to achieve registration is more scrutinous than a standard trade mark application and requires the applicant to have its certification rules approved by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) before it can be accepted.

The AFC certification mark is currently pending on the trade mark register, while the rules are reviewed by ACCC.  

What does this mean for Australian fashion brands?

The AFC have developed the certification mark as a branding mechanism, which will clearly identify Australian fashion in the marketplace and create an awareness for the unique elements that set it apart from the rest of the fashion industry.  Fashion and textile businesses wishing to obtain certification will be able to apply to use and benefit from the AFC certification mark as a badge of quality on their products.

Applicants will then be assessed against the certification rules, ensuring they meet the specific criteria, which currently includes:

  • meeting the compliance tests of being an 'Australian Made' brand (which align with the tests in the Competition and Consumer Act (2010);
  • being Australian owned, or having Australian majority employees;
  • engaging in authentic Australian design;
  • avoiding cultural misappropriation in the design process;
  • aligning with AFC principles; and
  • having environmental and social commitments and strategies.

If successful, an applicant will be granted a licence to use the certification mark for a set period of time for a fee and required to continue to adhere to the certification rules.

Key takeaway

While certification marks aren't new, establishing a unique identifier for Australian fashion is a valuable innovation for the industry, which local fashion businesses will be able to benefit from.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.