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Beyond the Bale : September 2018
32 OFF FARM A delegation of Chinese media and wool industry representatives visited Australia in May to not only experience the origin of Australian wool but also promote the special bond between the two countries – marking more than 50 years of wool trade between Australian and China. As China emerges as a luxury consumer market as well as a manufacturing hub, AWI and its marketing arm The Woolmark Company continue to position Australian Merino wool as the ultimate ingredient in luxury apparel and technical performance wear. Through hosting delegations from China, AWI aims to expose key emerging consumer markets to a deeper understanding of Australia Merino wool. AWI selected 13 leading Chinese business, trade and fashion media as well as seven industry VIPs to join a three-day visit to Australia. Key guests invited to the trip included Editor-in-Chief of Elle China, Xiao Xue; Editor in Chief of Hypebeast, Lu Zhenzong; Deputy Editor-in-Chief of T Magazine, Lu Mengfan; Senior Fashion Editor of GQ China, Wu Ruiqi; President of Nanshan Group, Zhao Liang; CEO of Xinao, Zhou Xiaotian; and President of China Wool Textile Association, Peng Yanli. STRENGTHENED BY VISIT AUSTRALIA-CHINA RELATIONSHIP The delegation from China at the AWI office in Sydney, with AWI CEO Stuart McCullough (seated far right). AWI’s Henry Ridge explaining wool fibre at the CSIRO’s Chiswick Research Station in Armidale, to Elle China CEO and Editor-in-Chief Xiao Xue, China Textile Development Center Director Li Binhong and Donghua University Shanghai Associate Professor Cao Xiaojie. The first day of the visit included a tour of the Lady and the Unicorn special exhibition of wool-rich medieval tapestries at the Art Gallery of NSW followed by welcome speeches from AWI CEO, Stuart McCullough; China Wool Textile Association President, Madam Peng; and fifth generation owner of Michell Wool, David Michell. The second day focused on farm visits. The delegation was divided into three groups visiting three different properties: ‘Sweven’ at Cattai near Sydney, ‘Biggam’ at Berridale and ‘Chiswick’ at Armidale. The delegation had the chance to experience Australian Merino wool farms first-hand, witnessing wool shearing demonstrations and general education about the wool-growing process. The final day of the tour saw the delegation visit AWI’s headquarters in Sydney and was welcomed by Julie Davies, General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension with an introduction on the company’s education and processing projects as well a presentation of latest Merino wool innovations developed in collaboration with AWI’s supply chain partners. “The whole trip was surprising and the conversations with the AWI CEO was inspiring, which provided a new perspective on the industry,” said journalist Patrick Li from Bloomberg Businessweek. AWI has produced a stunning short fashion film titled Armour as part of the promotion marking 50 years of successful Australian wool trade with China. Filmed in Tasmania, the film stars Australian-Chinese-Italian actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo and features key wool garments from the autumn/winter 2018 collections of some of the world’s leading fashion designers and brands, including Jacquemus, Paul Smith, Max Mara, Erin Snow and John Smedley. Written and directed by Ben Briand, the film tells the story of a female protagonist as she recollects a life-changing encounter and of how she came to carry a memento – a beautiful Paul Smith wool coat – that keeps the sensation of her experience alive. “I was inspired by the wool manufacturing process of taking something incredibly raw and turning it into something achingly beautiful,” explains Ben Briand. “There is a beautiful tension in that notion and one that I wanted to explore through the creation of this film.” Armour debuted in Shanghai on 30 August and has also been shortlisted at the A Shaded View on Fashion Film festival in France. Visit woolmark.com to view the film. WOOL STARS IN NEW FILM
In the Shops - September 2018