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Beyond the Bale : September 2014
OFF FARM 9 Complementing the selection of stunning images, writer Robert Johnston pens an ode to wool, outlining its versatility, inherent natural benefits and labels the fibre as “fashion’s most marvellous material”. Johnston also details the recent Campaign for Wool event hosted by global patron HRH the Prince of Wales (see page 14) and states “the Prince is merely pointing out what has been known for 8000 years – that wool is an amazing, extraordinarily adaptable fibre with a wealth of history and natural benefits, qualities that make it the first choice of the world’s great fashion designers”. But, it’s not only HRH the Prince of Wales who knows wool has no limits, as Johnston continues: “And thanks to its (wool’s) qualities, almost all the designers that British GQ has worked with, featured and photographed for the past 26 years, from Armani to Zegna, have used wool in all its forms to create everything from suits to knitwear, coats to high-performance sportswear and base layers. “...Australia has become a mecca to the finest designers and tailors from London to Milan and all points in between who come in search of excellence – and, as you can see here, they find it.” MORE INFORMATION www.merino.com/GQwoolmark50 The launch of the Woolmark brand 50 years ago heralded the beginning of the Woolmark Licensing Program through which companies can become Woolmark licensees and use the Woolmark logo as an independent quality endorsement on its products. Any product bearing the Woolmark logo meets strict wool content and quality and performance criteria. One of the first companies to become a Woolmark licensee, and the first ever Japanese company to become a licensee, was Nikke (The Japanese Wool Textile Co., Ltd) which joined back in 1964. Since then, Nikke has worked with AWI, its subsidiary The Woolmark Company, and their predecessors, in a long-standing relationship with the Woolmark brand. Established in 1896, Nikke creates 100 per cent wool fabrics and yarns which are supplied to businesses including apparel brands, retailers, fabric wholesalers and designers, and used in a variety of end products such as menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, and school and corporate uniforms. “The Woolmark brand brought us honour, pride, responsibility and obligation as the first licensee in Japan,” said Nikke spokesperson Mr Sumiyuki Kimura. “Since the Woolmark brand is only applied to certified products as a proof of high quality, it will provide consumers with value and reliability, and high recognition of Woolmark increases the value of wool products.” Nikke has collaborated with The Woolmark Company through the years on many events and exhibitions. As part of Nikke’s 100th anniversary in 1996, staff collected school uniforms from around the world for a showcase which Nikke rates as one of the highlights of the relationship with The Woolmark Company. In 2010 Nikke held one if its biggest exhibitions in the long history of the company. The Nikke Textile & Clothing Materials Exhibition showcased premium Merino wool fabrics and saw Nikke give the nod of approval for the newly launched Campaign for Wool – which was introduced into Japan the following year. In partnership with AWI, Nikke also launched Wool Man – a children’s ‘hero’ character which offers wool’s benefits to the younger generation and has since been translated in English and Chinese. Wool Man booklets were distributed free-of-charge to primary schools which wore uniforms made from Nikke fabric, helping tell the story of wool. Nikke has also worked closely with The Woolmark Company over the years to develop product innovations such as Luster Wool (Mercerised Merino) and Sportwool. Mr Kimura lists a number of other innovations that have been beneficial to business: “Various functional finishing techniques that strengthen the natural performance of wool, such as water and oil repellency, anti-wrinkle, natural stretch, and flame resistance. And the development of various hybrid fabrics by intimate blending, combined weaving or co-twisting with synthetic fibres such as polyester.” However, he said the geniality, warmth and freshness of wool will always be its strength. “Luxurious, sustainable, traceable and its green credentials are the important words,” he declared. MORE INFORMATION www.nikke.co.jp Nikke displaying a large range of mainly wool products at the ‘Nikke Textile & Clothing Material Exhibition’ in 2010. PARTNERSHIP WOVEN TOGETHER • Nikke creates 100 per cent wool fabrics and yarns which are used in a full range of products including menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, school and corporate uniforms. • AWI works closely with Nikke in co-developing fabric innovations and promoting wool. FOR 50 YEARS Japanese textile company Nikke was one of the first companies to become a Woolmark licensee, back in 1964.