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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
8 OFF FARM As the world’s most prestigious award for rising fashion stars, the International Woolmark Prize has been very successful at showcasing the versatility of Australian Merino wool by outstanding designers from six regions: Asia; Australia; British Isles; Europe; India, Pakistan and the Middle East; Australia and the USA. Broadening the scope of the search for the 2016/17 competition is the addition of new nominating body ‘Not Just A Label’ – the world’s largest community of emerging designers – which will be responsible for nominating two designers from across 36 newly added European countries. Not Just A Label will canvas its global network of 20,000 designers to select nominees from countries INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE EXPANDS GLOBALLY including Ukraine, Iceland, Kazakhstan and Greece that fall within the newly introduced region of Rest of Europe. The Asia region is also expanding further to include Indonesia, following the announcement of Jakarta Fashion Week as the official nominating body for Indonesia. Indonesian designers will join fashion talents from China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong in the International Woolmark Prize Asian regional finals, cementing Indonesia as dynamic new fashion capital. The Australia region is also broadening its boundaries with the addition of New Zealand, in recognition of the vibrant creativity emanating from that part of the world. New Zealand Fashion Week will be elevated to an official nominating body, joining IMG Australia and the Australian Fashion Chamber in nominating emerging designers to participate in the award. In the Middle East, the Dubai Design and Fashion Council is further unfurling its remit as a nominating body, with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar joining the United Arab Emirates as fertile grounds to find fresh new fashion talents. 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 the Merino wool fibre at the hands of the future leaders of the industry. New demand will come from the creation of increased knowledge of and lifetime 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. This program gives AWI the opportunity to work at three levels in the fashion apparel segment: WHY AWI INVESTS IN LEADING FASHION • At the jury level, there is the engagement with the world’s leading influencers of fashion, all of whom have a shared and stated interest in the development of new talent and new markets. • 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. • At a broader global fashion apparel audience level, through the creation of documentary style content distributed through digital and broadcast media. The promotion of wool continues to cross continents and cultures with the expansion of the International Woolmark Prize in 2016/17 into 38 new countries.
In the Shops - March 2016