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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
20 OFF FARM Following the success of AWI's Wool4School student design competition in Australia -- launched in 2011 and which has grown to this year receive more than 9000 registrations from high schools across the country -- the competition has been launched in Hong Kong. Collaborating with the Hong Kong government's Education Bureau (HKEB), AWI encouraged students from junior and senior secondary schools to take part in the real-life fashion design experience. The partnership with HKEB greatly assisted AWI's Hong Kong office to promote and introduce the Wool4School competition into more than 600 schools across Hong Kong, educating a new generation about the benefits, properties and versatility of Australian wool. Under the competition's theme Live Life, Love Wool, students were asked to choose either New York City, Sydney, Paris, Moscow or Shanghai and design an outfit -- comprising more than 80 per cent Australian Merino wool -- suitable to the chosen city's climate. Along with the design illustration, submissions had to also include a mood board and annotations for evaluation. "With Hong Kong being a significant market for Australian wool -- as both a manufacturer and a consumer of luxury apparel -- launching Wool4School in Hong Kong was a natural progression for the student competition," AWI Wool4School Project Coordinator Ashley Hollis said. "It is important to nurture the education of budding fashion designers in secondary schools in the region and encourage them to start thinking about wool from a young age. This project complements the strong relationship that AWI has built over many years with university students in Hong Kong." Teachers were encouraged to register for the competition and in return were sent a Wool4School resource pack that included fabric swatches, videos and the all-important lesson plans to implement into classrooms. "We visited junior and senior secondary schools across Hong Kong to brief the teachers about the competition and the versatility of the fibre," explained AWI Country Manager for Hong Kong Alex Lai. "We received very positive feedback from teachers, who also reported that students were excited to learn about the fibre and were amazed that wool is not just a fibre for winter, but a fibre for all seasons." Out of the 335 student entries, 10 finalists were chosen from each the junior and senior divisions, with each student invited to an exclusive wool workshop to further their education and appreciation of the fibre. Each of the finalists' sketches will also be displayed at the HKEB. "We were lucky to have two professional designers from Hong Kong join the judging panel," Mr Lai said. "Ms Jo Poon from the Hong Kong Design Institute and Ms Florence Tang from Wiseknit Factory Limited each said they were surprised to see the overwhelming number of submissions and the talent and creativity of each entrant, including colours and fabric co-ordination illustrated via sketches, mood boards and annotations." The final decision for both the junior and senior winners was made by influential Australian designer Jonathan Ward, who has been an integral Wool4School partner in Australia each year the competition has been held. "The junior winner has presented an amazing design utilising wool on a velvet, reflecting the style and sophistication of Paris," explained Mr Ward after reviewing the finalists' submissions. "The senior winner showcased excellent overall presentation and embraced all features and benefits of wool innovation and design creativity. This is shown through her flamboyant reflection of New York's Broadway." MORE INFORMATION www.wool4school.com WOOL4SCHOOL LAUNCHED IN HONG KONG AWI has expanded its Wool4School student design competition overseas into Hong Kong to help the next generation in this important textile region to champion Australian wool. Florence Tang of Wiseknit Factory Limited and Jo Poon of the Hong Kong Design Institute judging the many entries in the inaugural Hong Kong Wool4School competition. The winning design in the senior category, by Cheung Ka Lee, was inspired by New York's Broadway. The winning design in the junior division, by Kwong Yum Yu Tashi, was inspired by Paris.