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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
8 OFF FARM Scabal has released a new collection of 'Noble Fleece' fabrics produced by ultrafine woolgrowers that are members of its newly established Noble Wool Club. The club aims to create a closer relationship between Australian ultrafine woolgrowers, leading bespoke tailors of Savile Row and the ultimate end consumer. For close to 500 years, luxury weaver Scabal has been producing some of the world's finest cloths made using the finest Australian Merino wool. In its ongoing quest for perfection Scabal has collaborated with The Woolmark Company (owned by AWI) to release an innovative collection of Noble Fleece fabrics, produced by the newly formed Scabal Noble Wool Club. As a leading marketer of sophisticated, specialised, ultrafine wool products, Scabal feels both a responsibility and long-term opportunity to establish a privileged relationship with the best woolgrowers. The idea of establishing this illustrious club was born after Scabal Executive Chairman Gregor Thissen visited Australia in late 2013 in a bid to bridge the gap between ultrafine woolgrowers and their ultimate consumers. To qualify to be a member of the Scabal Noble Wool Club, woolgrowers must satisfy rigorous standards including bloodlines, crimping criteria and heritage. To celebrate the launch of Scabal's Noble Wool Club, prestigious menswear publication The Rake with AWI support produced a two-part feature, highlighting the fibre to fashion journey and re-establishing the emotional connection between the exquisite fabrics and their origins. Accompanying the two-part feature were two short films: the first explores Scabal's mill at Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England; whilst the second journeys to Australia, to Murray Picker's 'Hillcreston' property in Bigga, NSW. "For me, it's the first in a hopefully long series of fabrics that are going to be based on a new focus in the selection process for wool," Mr Thissen tells The Rake. "So far in the ultra-fine business, we've always focussed on micronage, and I want now to go beyond that and add a lot of other different characteristics to the wool we're selecting. "More and more menswear consumers are concerned about what goes into the product they buy and the sustainability of the supply chain, so I think there's a real opportunity for our industry and for us to inform people about what goes into their suits." During the collaboration, AWI has been able to impart its knowledge of the entire wool supply chain with Scabal and it is evident that both organisations share similar core values, underpinned by providing the highest quality that is possible. "AWI is, and always has been, dedicated to quality," explains AWI's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Rob Langtry. "Our collaboration with Scabal demonstrates to consumers that, when they buy a Scabal product made from the very best Merino wool, designed by experienced fabric designers, woven by the best English weavers, they are the proud owner of the world's finest natural quality fibre in terms of provenance, performance and luxury." For Mr Picker, a sixth generation woolgrower, he knows all too well that Australia's history is all about wool, and for those in the game it's a family affair. "It's not something you can just walk into and do," he says. "You don't see many people from any other upbringings going into wool -- it's very rare. Even now, my father is still teaching us some pointers here and there." And so it's obvious that all players involved in pursuing perfection -- from sheep through to shop -- are participating in a multifaceted affair and embracing it with open arms. After all, says The Rake, a perfectionist's work is never done. MORE INFORMATION www.merino.com/scabal Sixth generation woolgrower Murray Picker of 'Hillcreston' at Bigga in NSW is part of the Scabal Noble Wool Club. Here he meets Scabal Executive Chairman Gregor Thissen, bridging the gap between farm and fabric. PURSUIT OF PERFECTION