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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
Victoria Beckham, Fashion Designer; Dame Natalie Massenet DBE, Chair of British Fashion Council; Miroslava Duma, CEO and founder, Fashion Tech Labs and Buro 24/7 look on attentively during judging. Ben Cottrell of COTTWEILER showing one of the designs to the menswear judging panel. 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. WHY AWI INVESTS IN LEADING FASHION wool to create a wool-velvet fabrication, Hearst’s clean cuts and precision offers a collection set to stand the test of time. It incorporated sleek silhouettes with updates on trench coats, pleats and an evening dress teamed with the more utilitarian baseball jacket with adjoining scarf, one-piece long johns, reversible puffer vest and cycling trousers. “As a designer it’s a huge honour to be recognised and I cannot wait to promote more Merino wool in the world as I believe it is the yarn of future,” Gabriela Hearst said. MENSWEAR WINNER: COTTWEILER Representing the British Isles, COTTWEILER’s winning International Woolmark Prize collection comprises sheer Merino wool base-layers, windproof mid-layers and quilted waterproof outerwear, with wool-blend fabrics ranging from 18.5 microns through to 19.5 microns, and recycled wool scraps used for insulation. “COTTWEILER is working with wool in a highly original way that mixes sports, tailoring, streetwear and fashion, and I think that represents a new dimension in menswear,” said Dazed Media CEO and Co-Founder Jefferson Hack after the announcement. The resultant collection brings COTTWEILER’s brand of fetish-infused cult and tribe codes into the world of wool, with utilitarian detailing – padded hoods, detachable cargo pockets, running caps, and elasticised hems and cuffs, for example – at its core. “Winning the International Woolmark Prize gives us the opportunity to share what we do with a much bigger, global audience,” said COTTWEILER after the win. “But for us, the great part of this was the opportunity to work with a different material – Merino wool – because we’re always interested in experimenting with technology and development.” MORE INFORMATION www.woolmarkprize.com 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: • 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 aspirational content we can connect with a wide and sophisticated consumer audience allowing us to grow our digital databases and give us the opportunity to promote Merino wool directly to these engaged followers throughout the year. 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. OFF FARM 13
In the Shops - March 2017