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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
18 OFF FARM WOOL SEMINAR INSPIRES • AWI has hosted a seminar for textile and fashion university students in the UK about Merino wool. • The seminar aimed to educate students at the early stage in their career about the benefits, possibilities and provenance of Merino wool, as well as highlight the fibre’s place in contemporary fashion and textiles. • Guest speakers included a variety of industry professionals from various facets of the industry. Following on from the successful ‘Naturally Inspiring’ seminar held last year at King’s College London for university level fashion and textiles students, a similar seminar was held this year in February at the Barbican Centre in London. The seminar was attended by 160 students and young designer brands from 20 different universities and companies across the country. Part of AWI’s ongoing commitment to nurturing emerging design talent includes hosting of these student seminars with the aim to educate the next generation about: the attributes and benefits of wool, why they should be inspired to use wool now and in future, and the opportunities for them entering the wool industry. Introduced by AWI consultant and IWTO president Peter Ackroyd the seminar affirmed AWI’s role as a leading authority in the textile and fashion industry, and showcased Merino wool to the future designers, creators and decision makers of the industry. Guest speakers included esteemed fashion commentator Colin McDowell whose knowledge is particularly valuable when working with young and inexperienced designers; Sheila-Mary Carruthers who has great experience in the fashion supply chain and trend predictions; Kirsty Emery and Ben Alun Jones representing the company Knyttan who have developed technology using Stoll machinery, creating personalised Merino wool knitwear designs, which increase consumers knowledge of the supply chain; London based designer Holly Fulton and director of the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, Wendy Malem. The Wool Lab sourcing guide was also presented by AWI. Textiles Course Leader at Brighton University, Toni Hicks, said every student she spoke with, both during and since the event, said how much they valued and enjoyed the event. “It will certainly be etched in their minds as one of the most memorable occasions during their student life,” she said. “Every aspect was so well considered and added to their knowledge from many different perspectives – from the raw material and textile structure to trends and business knowledge, everything current and relevant to the audience. “Wool is the most remarkable natural resource and holds so much potential for young designers today. It was really beneficial for all the students and I’m sure they will be feeling encouraged to design with wool and experiment with its many inherent qualities now.” Brighton University student Lucy Charters echoed her course leader’s sentiments: “The event was incredibly insightful and eye opening. As a fashion student this has definitely changed my views on wool and will certainly shape my fabric choices in the future.” A survey of the event’s attendees showed that 80 per cent rated the event as “very good” (5/5) with the remaining 20 per cent rating it as “good” (4/5). 95 per cent of attendees surveyed agreed with the statement “Having attended this event I feel my knowledge of wool and the supply chain has increased significantly”. Tutor Sarah Elwick of the Winchester School of Art said: “I loved all of it. All the speakers really knew their stuff and conveyed it in a really relevant and exciting way.” Student Georgia Cleeves of Buckinghamshire University said: “It was fast moving and interesting, super informative and well spoken. It’s the best event of its kind I have been to.” RIGHT The ‘Naturally Inspiring’ seminar held in London aimed to inspire university level fashion and textiles students to use Merino wool now and in their future careers. TEXTILE STUDENTS