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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
WOOL A HOT TOPIC FOR SPORTS AND OUTDOOR BRANDS With the sports and outdoor market continuing to play a large and increasingly important part in AWI’s product development and marketing strategy, AWI once again exhibited at this year’s ISPO trade show – the world’s largest trade show targeting activewear and sports apparel. It was the biggest one yet, with ISPO welcoming 2,801 exhibitors and more than 84,000 visitors form 120 countries to the trade show in Munich, Germany. Following the success of previous shows, AWI was instrumental in organising the ‘Wool Lounge’ – the fair’s epicenter for all things wool and featuring leading brands including H. Dawson, Südwolle Group, Shepherd, Italfil, Lavalan, Australian, Diyang, Marbäck Tricot, Engel, Utenos, Xinao, Schoeller, Blum Textil, Davifil and of course The Woolmark Company. At The Woolmark Company’s stand, the latest innovations co-developed by AWI’s in-house technical team were on display, including wool footwear, seamless apparel and wool filling – which provides a natural alternative to traditional synthetic wadding. Also on show was the latest edition of The Wool Lab Sport, featuring a collection of the world’s best technical fabrics and yarns. Performance apparel is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global textile industry, with much of this demand attributed to an emergence of new technologies, new sporting trends and a shift in people’s attitude towards health and fitness. “Our stand recorded the most number of visitors compared to previous years,” said AWI sports/outdoor advisor Lars Ulvesund. “While many outdoor brands already have wool in their collection, we have seen a number of brands introduce wool into their high-intensity categories, with pieces suited towards cycling and running. We are also experiencing a higher number of lightweight Merino wool pieces being introduced for Spring/Summer collections. “Many of the brands I spoke with are keen to focus on new developments to increase the versatility of their wool ranges, and the traceability of garments continues to be in high demand.” WOOLMARK PERFORMANCE CHALLENGE AWI also took the opportunity of ISPO to launch a new competition called the Woolmark Performance Challenge, in partnership with leading sports brand adidas. The competition focuses on the development of innovative, forward-thinking products for the performance industry and in its first year is open to tertiary students in Europe and North America. “This new competition is unique in that it offers the winner hands-on experience with a leading performance brand,” said AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. “New talent is the future of our business and the industry, and AWI actively believes in education and fostering the development of the next generation of designers and change-makers. “What makes this competition even more exciting is the focus on innovation. We have the utmost faith that all submissions will highlight the innovative nature of Merino wool, creating products which will not only take the fibre, but also the larger performance industry, into unchartered territory.” ERIN SNOW WOOLMARK SKIWEAR COLLECTION For the first time, AWI exhibited at the USA’s largest outdoor trade show, Outdoor Retailer, held in Denver, Colorado. Showcasing the latest edition of The Wool Lab Sport, along with the technical innovations in wool, the show also provided an opportunity to reach out to a new audience as AWI hosted a Wool Education Course to present the technical abilities of the fibre. The stand of AWI’s marketing arm, The Woolmark Company, at the ISPO trade show attracted record numbers and also played host to a press conference announcing the Woolmark Performance Challenge. 10 OFF FARM
In the Shops - March 2018