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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
Agroup of fashion and textile students got a taste of how Australian wool is produced during a visit to ‘Poplars Merinos’ near Geelong in Victoria, as part of an AWI-organised tour to enhance their understanding of how wool is produced. Owned by Graeme and Wendy Harvey – whose family has been on the property since the 1850s – Poplars Merinos is home to 8,000 Merinos that produce wool averaging 19 micron. Graeme explained to the students what a life on the land is like, the importance of selective breeding, how often a sheep is shorn and how – as woolgrowers – they are true custodians of the land. In turn, students were able to ask Graeme and Wendy questions about the science and art of growing wool, compare fleece with fabrics and yarns, and gain a better understanding of Merino wool’s origins. AWI organised for a group of tertiary fashion and textile students from Melbourne to visit a wool-growing property and a knitwear manufacturer, to further expand their understanding of wool’s farm to fashion journey. The tour comprised students from Melbourne’s Monash University, RMIT University’s School of Fashion & Textiles and Whitehouse Institute of Design. By putting wool into the minds of Australia’s future fashion designers, tours such as these encourage students’ innovative thinking and creative design, in keeping with AWI’s tradition of fostering the education of the future generation. “I left this farm visit with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Australian wool farmers,” said Advanced Diploma of Textile Design & Development student Amber Diffey. “I cannot even imagine being responsible for 8,000 sheep! Graeme was a great host, I felt very welcome on his farm and he was able to answer all of our questions relating to wool-growing. I definitely would recommend this visit to anyone studying fashion and textiles.” The second part of the students’ visit was to Melbourne’s ABMT Textiles – a global leader in circular knit manufacturing, servicing a diverse customer base covering local fashion retailers through to global sports and outdoor brands. ABMT’s extensive assortment of knitting machines, in single jersey, double knit and jacquard, combined with the latest in low liquor ratio dyeing machines and broad finishing capabilities such as compaction, decatising and brushing, provide an enormous scope for circular knits. AWI Group Manager, Trade Education, Julie Davies, said the tour aimed to inspire the students to work with Australian Merino wool throughout their careers. “Organised as part of AWI’s ‘Naturally Inspiring’ student seminar series, AWI offers a complete on-farm experience for students to enhance their understanding of farm life and the activities that woolgrowers undertake before the wool has left their gate,” she said. “It creates a holistic experience for the students and hopefully increases their love of wool.” This project is part of a broader training and education program run by AWI, which aims to increase supply chain engagement with university level students overseas as well as in Australia. “A beautiful opportunity to see wool growth, production and development from the farm gate to the factory floor,” Christopher (Lachlan) Koren Fashion Design & Technology student OFF FARM 31 STUDENT VISIT TO FARM EXPANDS KNOWLEDGE OF WOOL Woolgrower Graeme Harvey of ‘Poplars Merinos’ near Geelong showing off some beautiful fleece to fashion and textile students from Melbourne’s Monash University, RMIT and Whitehouse Institute of Design. The students were part of an AWI-organised study tour to develop a greater understanding of Merino wool’s source.
In the Shops - March 2018