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Beyond the Bale : September 2017
OFF FARM 11 More than 12,000 kilometres away from her family’s ranch in Uruguay, fashion designer Gabriela Hearst visited an Australian wool-growing property, going back to the source of the fibre that makes up a large part of her 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize- winning collection, available now in leading retailers worldwide including David Jones’ Sydney City store and online. Visiting Dave and Skye Ward’s ‘Spring Ponds’ property, near Goulburn in NSW, Hearst was taken on a tour of the farm to meet the sheep and witness Australian farming practices. In addition, Hearst hosted an intimate lunch with the region’s women of wool including founder of Sarah Jane Bond blankets and local woolgrower Vanessa Bell of ‘Greendale’ at Breadalbane; freelance journalist and local woolgrower Lucy Knight of ‘Collingwood’ at Gunning; and Skye’s mother Trish Dixon who grew up at ‘Spring Ponds’ and is an esteemed writer and photographer. They shared her experience of winning the International Woolmark Prize and their joint passion for producing Merino wool. “It was very interesting to see how wool- growing is done in Australia,” said Hearst. “I have been surrounded by Merino sheep all my life and this is where the best of the best is bred. I also have a high appreciation of the way of life, the respect of nature and long-term views when it comes to producing. Australia is one of the most wonderful countries in the world and it has a special place in my heart. I am so appreciative of Woolmark for this opportunity.” Producing superfine Merino wool, ‘Spring Ponds’ owners Dave and Skye Ward have a life-long association with the Australian wool industry, both growing up on Merino properties. The couple has run the property for close to a decade and was founded by Skye’s great-great-grandfather in the early-1900s. “The wool industry is in very safe hands with ambassadors like Gabriela Hearst.” DAVE WARD, WOOLGROWER “It was a rare privilege for us as woolgrowers to meet an international designer of such high calibre and one who is so passionate about wool and genuinely interested in us as Australian Merino producers,” said Dave. “The wool industry is in very safe hands with ambassadors like Gabriela Hearst.” “Gabriela’s ethos is also very aligned to the wool industry and our own values, as she designs sustainable, luxurious and timeless fashion that demonstrates all the amazing attributes of the Merino,” added Skye. Hearst said she was not only impressed by the superior quality of Dave and Skye's Merinos, but also by the passion and love they put into their product. “Their children are sixth generation growers, as am I, so I understand that it can take generations to take this product to the next level,” she said. WINNING COLLECTION NOW AVAILABLE Gabriela Hearst’s womenswear collection that won the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize used ultrafine 14.5 micron Merino wool for luxurious knitwear, through to 21.5 micron wool to create a wool-velvet fabrication. Via the International Woolmark Prize Retail Partner network, Gabriela Hearst’s winning collection has launched into the world’s most influential global retailers, including: Boon the Shop – Seoul; Boutique1 – Dubai; David Jones – Sydney; De Bijenkorf – Amsterdam; Harvey Nichols – London; Hudson’s Bay – Toronto; Lane Crawford – Hong Kong and Shanghai; L’Eclaireur – Paris; and MyTheresa.com. The winning collection from this year’s menswear winner – the London-based label Cottweiler – has also been unveiled in key global stores. While in Australia to take part in the judging of this year’s International Woolmark Prize regional final, 2016/17 competition winner and Uruguayan woolgrower Gabriela Hearst visited a wool-growing property to find out more about the source of Australian Merino wool. INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE WINNER GABRIELA HEARST VISITS THE SOURCE OF AUSTRALIAN WOOL 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize winner Gabriela Hearst examines superfine Australian Merino wool produced at ‘Spring Ponds’ near Goulburn, NSW. ‘Spring Ponds’ woolgrowers David and Skye Ward, with daughter Harriet, meet fashion designer Gabriela Hearst (centre).
In the Shops - September 2017