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Beyond the Bale : June 2015
12 OFF FARM To achieve its mission of increasing the global demand for Australian wool, it is vital for AWI to reinforce the presence of Australian Merino wool in the international fashion industry. The involvement of the world’s leading fashion designers with Australian Merino wool is extremely important because of their enormous influence in setting global trends for the mainstream retail brands. What we see on the world’s catwalks this year quickly makes it into the mainstream fashion sector. The broader fashion industry looks to designers for the latest trends. Their work with fabrics like Australian Merino wool has a ‘trickle down’ effect which cannot be underestimated. The International Woolmark Prize is the ‘jewel’ in AWI’s fashion promotion activities. It is designed to generate long term incremental demand by connecting emerging designers, emerging markets and consumers. It is an award for the next generation, shifting the focus from glamour to true talent as a way to highlight the beauty of Merino wool fibre at the hands of the future leaders of the industry. The initiative has proven to be AWI’s most successful marketing strategy, based on global media exposure measured by AC Nielsen tracking surveys. It is not only about finding the next big design talent, it is about profiling the Australian fibre and Woolmark brand to the world, building consumption and increasing the price that woolgrowers get for their fibre. The recent expansion of the global initiative into a menswear category signifies its strength and its impact on the fashion industry. This program has given and continues to give AWI the opportunity to work at a number of levels in the fashion apparel segment: • At the jury level, there is the engagement with an alumnus of the world’s leading influencers of fashion, such as Victoria Beckham, Sir Paul Smith and Donatella Versace – who donate their time at no cost – and all of whom not only have a shared and stated interest in the development of new talent and new markets, but also help attract enormous media attention worldwide to expose the innovative nature and versatility of Australian wool. • At the participant (and winner) levels, AWI imbues them with knowledge of wool fibre at an early stage in the commercial development and works with them to create a connection to wool which will stay with them throughout their careers – for example see the article on the page opposite about 2014 winner Rahul Mishra. • At the trade level, the competition has attracted a high calibre of supporters from nominating bodies including the British Fashion Council, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue China, to retailers such as David Jones, Saks Fifth Avenue and 10 Corso Como. The new Trade Partnership Program, which connects promising designers with the best spinners and weavers specialising in wool, expands this further. • At a broader global fashion apparel audience level, through the creation of ‘documentary’ style content distributed through digital and broadcast media – see www.woolmarkprize.com and www.merino.com MORE INFORMATION www.woolmarkprize.com INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE GLOBAL REACH 2014/15 FACEBOOK IMPRESSIONS MILLION 9.7 MILLION TWITTER IMPRESSIONS 410.0 MILLION INSTAGRAM IMPRESSIONS 23.6 MILLION EDITORIAL VALUE $39.6 (June 2014 to March 2015): (Dec 2014 – March 2015): (June 2014 to March 2015): (June 2014 to March 2015): Since its launch in 2012, the International Woolmark Prize has become AWI’s most successful marketing strategy, increasing the global demand for Australian Merino wool by promoting the versatility of the fibre and aligning young talent with commercial opportunities. New demand is coming from the creation of increased knowledge of and loyalty to wool amongst designers, along with the immediate presence of Woolmark-branded Merino wool collections in the top boutiques and retailers across the globe. CONTINUES TO MAKE ITS MARK INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE