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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
10 OFF FARM The new President of the Australian Superfine Wool Growers' Association, Simon Cameron with the Head of Fabric Design & Product Development at Nanshan, Liu Gangzhang; Early Stage Processing Manager at Nanshan, Wang Sheng; AWI General Manager of Product Development, Jimmy Jackson; and General Manager Manufacturing at Nanshan, Cao Yiro. CHINESE GIANT DISCOVERS SUPERFINE Nanshan, one of China’s leading textile enterprises, is keen to diversify its product range and develop a series of products using superfine wool in womenswear, particularly accessories such as scarves. The development in part stems from a stagnation in the demand for traditional men’s suiting due to the global trend of casualisation as well as an easing in general economic activity in key northern hemisphere markets. “Like all businesses we must continue to look for new opportunities and new textile innovations; this way we broaden the market,” said Nanshan Fabric and Garment General Director, Cao Yiru, during a trip late last year to Australia. For Mr Yiru and his chief designer it was the first time to Australia and so AWI took the opportunity to introduce the senior Nanshan personnel to a number of superfine woolgrowers as well as show them the wool auctions in Melbourne. “This visit helps us understand the upstream production, how farms are managed and the history behind the fibre,” Mr Yiru said. AWI has developed a long-standing relationship with Nanshan over the years – a close cooperation that resulted in the establishment of the Wool Development Center and the International Wool Education Center at Nanshan in Shandong Provence, China. Both are helping drive the expansion of the Chinese wool textile industry and the consumption of Australian Merino wool. The joint initiatives have fostered new fabric innovations – such as the premium and innovative NEULANA fabric collection made from Merino wool, launched in October last year – and with regular teaching courses for students there is a new generation of new wool textile specialists being created at Nanshan. Tasmania was a natural place for the Nanshan visitors to visit and although suffering through one of the worst dry spells in living memory, the Tasmanian superfine industry welcomed Nanshan with open arms. One of the properties visited was ‘Kingston’, near Campbell Town, owned by President of the Australian Superfine Wool Growers' Association (ASWGA), Simon Cameron. “Like all woolgrowers we are very proud of our part of Australia,” Simon said. “Properties like ‘Kingston’ have a great story to tell when it comes to traditional superfine wool production and here it is integrated with managing the farm’s natural values. It is an important message for visitors such as the Nanshan team to understand. “New demand from the likes of Nanshan and new product ranges such as those seen in the sports and active outdoor market are helping to introduce more consumers to superfine wool. These increasing opportunities will reduce our reliance on the men’s suiting market.” The state of the superfine industry and trends now driving this flagship end of the wool industry will be topics discussed at the annual ASWGA conference being held 8-10 April in Launceston in Tasmania, directly after the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO) Congress in Sydney (see page 48). The conference has two main days. The first will consist of a series of speakers. The second will be visits to three properties: ‘Glen Stuart’, ‘Kingston’ and ‘Winton’, each of which is contributing to our industry in a special way. Speakers will include: • Stuart McCulloch, CEO, AWI • Rob Langtry, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, AWI • Peter Ackroyd, President, IWTO • Mark Grave, CEO, AWEX • Ian Ashman, GM, AWTA • Lesley Prior, Council Member of the Campaign for Wool (the UK’s only superfine woolgrower!) • Brenda McGahan, CEO, Australian Country Spinners • Jane Hutchinson, CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy • Sandy McEachern, Holmes and Sackett. For further information about the conference, visit www.aswga.com ASWGA 2016 CONFERENCE As one of the giants of the Chinese wool textile industry, it is somewhat surprising the fully vertically integrated Nanshan Group has to date used comparatively little superfine wool. That is about to change and a recent visit by Nanshan’s top brass confirms the company’s interest in the superfine end of the clip.
In the Shops - March 2016