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Beyond the Bale : September 2016
Influential Chinese menswear fashion designers, media, retailers and brands recently enjoyed some of the best the Australian wool industry can offer. Keen to experience the origin of the natural fibre and learn about the versatility of Australian wool, the tour visited a leading woolgrowing property, spent time with key AWI staff, and met with various fashion, design and retail interests. "We got a very good impression of the Australian wool industry, especially at the award-winning ‘Avington’ farm,” said tour organiser and AWI China Marketing Manager Sherry Yao. “We saw how the passionate team breeds and raises happy sheep, and produces fine-quality Australian Merino wool in a scientific and sustainable manner. We look forward to using more Australian Merino wool to educate our consumers that wool is a renewable and biodegradable fibre with various natural benefits, which is good for our life and the planet in which we live.” The tour of about 15 Chinese delegates is part of a growing trend in the frequency and number of international wool tours coming to see the source of Australian Merino wool. This tour in particular was in support of the AWI’s Woolmark Gold campaign, which positions Merino wool as the prestigious fibre of choice in the rapidly growing Chinese domestic market for luxury apparel. Woolmark Gold fabrics must have been woven or spun by one of an accredited group of heritage British and European weavers and spinners. Many of the mills have been operated by the same families for centuries, and just like the woolgrowers who supply them with the precious fibre, they too take pride in maintaining traditional standards of excellence and share in a commitment to innovation. “It was a valuable experience for me to visit the ‘Avington’ farm,” said Gao Ya from ELLE MEN China. “Our consumers can now experience the finest wool because of better breeding conditions created by the growers. Wool is so precious with various natural benefits; why shouldn’t we choose wool?” Terry Hu from premium brand and retailer ICICLE echoed this sentiment, placing great value not only on Australian Merino wool but also on the relationship between the Chinese fashion industry and the Australian wool industry. “Australian wool is so amazing that I think ICICLE will further tap into our cooperation with AWI and bring more benefits to Chinese consumers,” he said. The importance of China to the Australian wool industry cannot be overstated, with almost 80 per cent of the Australian wool clip now exported to China for early stage processing, however roughly half of this is now consumed in China at retail. In response to this trend, AWI will continue to actively market the benefits of Australian wool to the Chinese textile and apparel industries as well as to Chinese consumers. SHOWCASING THE SOURCE OF AUSTRALIAN WOOL As China’s luxury consumer market continues to rise, AWI has put renewed vigour into marketing the benefits of Australian wool in this key market, recently hosting a media tour and taking the delegates to the source of the fibre. Showcasing the source of Merino wool at ‘Avington’ in central Victoria to the media delegation from China. OFF FARM 11
In the Shops - September 2016