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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
Italian weaver Reda is marking its 150th anniversary by showcasing the luxurious attributes of superfine Merino wool and the company's close working relationship with Australian woolgrowers. Established in 1865 in the hills above Biella in Italy, luxury weaver of superfine Merino wool, Reda, is this year paying tribute to the premium qualities of the natural fibre that has been so integral to the company throughout its 150 year history. An exclusive exhibition, produced by Reda in collaboration with AWI, is showcasing the fabric maker's rich history with artful images of Reda's wool supply chain -- from farm to fabric -- shot by five influential Magnum Photos Agency photographers. The visual and tactile exhibition -- simply titled '150' -- focuses on the Merino wool, yarn, and fabric in a sequence of exhibits and images, revealing the purity of the finest wool in the world. '150' opened at Milan's Palazzo Clerici in February and was attended by global media and luminaries from the Italian wool industry. The exhibition traveled to the UK for the London Collections Men fashion week in June, to New York in July and will move on to Berlin later this year. The events are conceived as an engaging, multi-sensory experience that originates from Merino wool to depict the pureness of every single yarn and the sophistication of the finished fabric. Reda has collated the images shot by the Magnum photographers in an exclusive book, also titled '150'. It portrays a passionate visual narrative of the source of Merino wool in the vastness of Australia through to Reda's wool mill in the foggy valleys of Valle Mosso, masterfully capturing the balance between traditions of craftsmanship and technological innovation. In Australia, Magnum photographers Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin took photos for '150' at four properties in New England: Annie Hutchison's 'Kentucky Station' at Kentucky, Leo and Judy Blanch's 'Westvale' at Wollun, the Hawksford family's 'Glenburnie' at Kentucky, and Fred Cameron's 'Englefield North' at Walcha. As a curtain-raiser to Reda's 150 year anniversary, Reda's global directors Fabrizio, Francesco and Ercole Botto Poala headed an international media tour to Australia in 2013, with the support of AWI, to highlight the source of 1PP bales -- the best superfine wool -- to the world. Fabrizio Botto Poala said the company greatly values the qualities that Australian Merino wool brings to its renowned fabrics. "We have always believed that quality is one of the main factors; we are always trying to push quality. New England is the most important place all over the world where we can find our top wool," he said. "We cannot compare this fantastic fibre with a synthetic product. We have to compare our fibre with the ultra-elite fibres like cashmere or silk. "The target of everybody that works in wool is to try and increase the consumption of wool, especially the consumption of good wool. But the most difficult thing is to teach the final consumer about wool. If we want to see a better price in the market we have to increase the demand, this is the only way. "We believe in wool. We will never leave wool. We are a 'maniac' for wool!" AWI continues to have a strong relationship with the prestigious manufacturer. "It is both a source of wonder and pride to the Australian wool industry that Reda -- with its own tradition of innovation, continuous improvement and passion for perfection -- turns our wool into some of the world's most beautiful fabrics and apparel," explained AWI Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Rob Langtry. "We are encouraged by the continued support and level of interest in the story behind superfine wool which we receive from our supporters in Italy and across Europe. "Globally supported initiatives such as this are being driven by the industry and reinforce AWI's efforts to strengthen demand for superfine and ultrafine Australian wool at a sustainable price." MORE INFORMATION www.reda1865.com REDA'S SUPERFINE TRIBUTE One of the images contained in Reda's 150 year anniversary exhibition and book, shot at the New England property 'Kentucky Station' of superfine woolgrower Annie Hutchison. PHOTO: Alex Majoli/ Magnum Photos Reda CEO Ercole Botto Poala and AWI Italy Country Manager Francesco Magri at the exhibition that showcases the premium qualities of Merino wool.