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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE The International Woolmark Prize remains AWI's most successful marketing strategy and provides design talent across the globe with the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world's most influential retailers. The winner of the Australia regional final for menwear was Patrick Johnson of P.Johnson tailors whose passion for Australian Merino wool stems from his childhood growing up on a sheep station north of Adelaide. The finalists to compete in the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize were decided in July during six regional competitions that were held across the world in Asia; Australia; the British Isles; Europe; India, Pakistan and Middle East; and the USA. The six menswear and six womenswear regional winners will compete in the finals being held respectively in Florence in January 2016 and New York in February 2016. 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. The interest in these awards from fashion communities and media globally has been phenomenal which is important to help increase the global demand for Australian wool. Australian woolgrowers will be especially interested to hear that the menswear winner of the Australia regional final, Patrick Johnson of P.Johnson tailors, grew up on Merino sheep station 'Buckland Park', near Two Wells, north of Adelaide. According to Patrick, it's the natural landscapes and environments he remembers from his childhood on the land which influenced his winning collection. "I admire sheep's hardiness and have respect for what they have done for our country," he said. "I work with wool everyday, but this prize really made me refocus on the relationship with my weavers and the technology we use around wool, and how we need to get more value and recognition for the wool we grow. "This award helps put the designers in touch with the growers and gets designers thinking about the fibre, what it is and where it comes from. Right now, the weavers, designers and retailers probably get the most recognition and value out of the wool. Yet we want the growers to be a bigger part of that picture, to capture more of the true value. "For me, Merino wool should be viewed as a premium fibre. The work of AWI and The Woolmark Company goes a long way in this direction, and helps keep wool at the cutting edge." Johnson focused purely on superfine Merino wool of 14 to 17 micron for his collection, even when using a waterproof bonding technology of Teflon coating. Presenting a lightweight white Merino wool deconstructed blazer and navy trouser combination, Johnson's tailoring perfection impressed the judging panel. "Patrick Johnson's construction was beautiful; the make was exquisite and there was some really great innovations with Merino wool," said judge Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia. "People don't really think of Australian fashion for fine tailoring but this is a slightly more relaxed tailoring, it's very light." The continued support of some of the global fashion industry's most significant representatives on the judging panels of the International Woolmark Prize underlines the importance of the initiative and also helps attract enormous media attention worldwide to expose the innovative nature and versatility of Australian wool "The prize continues to highlight the most innovative and modern interpretations of Australian wool in the hands of some of our future's brightest talents," AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said. "It remains AWI's commitment to educate the next generation of fashion industry leaders about the extraordinary potential of Australian Merino wool, and we congratulate the 12 global finalists on their win. "With the number of countries represented the largest yet, the International Woolmark Prize is a truly global celebration of emerging talent and most importantly provides the winning designers with a unique opportunity for commercial success on a global scale." MORE INFORMATION www.woolmarkprize.com Models wearing the entries for the Australia regional final of the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize. REGIONAL FINALS