2023 AWARD COMMENDATION
Sponsored by NZI
Jacinta Fitzgerald is the inaugural Chief Executive of Mindful Fashion New Zealand, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2019 to strengthen the fashion and textile industry.
Jacinta has had a 20-year career in the clothing and textile industry, first as a designer and then as a sustainability consultant. She is clear on her purpose to drive change in the industry.
At the heart of Mindful Fashion is a commitment to a sustainable and inclusive future, one where business, nature and people thrive. The organisation was set up to collectively address a range of complex challenges, including sustainable sourcing, ethical supply chains, future workforce, textile waste and climate change.
Jacinta’s first action at Mindful Fashion was to introduce a code of conduct to set standards of responsible business practice for the industry. With this in place, she created the industry’s first
sustainability report, which formed the basis for a range of industry actions to create real change. The most notable programme is the Climate Action programme and Climate Toolkit, which has unlocked climate action for many of the organisation’s members.
Jacinta understands the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental sustainability and has worked tirelessly on industry education and training initiatives. This included securing government backing for a new sewing machinist qualification to underpin the sustainability of New Zealand’s future domestic industry.
Many of Jacinta's ideas embrace the creative spirit of the industry, including a fundraising
campaign that created a fully circular t-shirt, drawing on the domestic supply chain. She led the creation of New Zealand’s first-ever Circular Design Award which launched in June 2023.
Jacinta has built trust with key stakeholders in the government and is now a regular commentator on sustainable fashion in the media.