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Beyond the Bale : March 2019
Six top Australian fashion designers and brands visited a historic wool-growing property in October, as part of an AWI initiative to educate design talent about the origin and benefits of wool. AWI’s marketing arm The Woolmark Company partnered with the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) to take six Australian fashion designers and brands on a memorable day trip to Anlaby Station near Kapunda in South Australia, as part of the AFC’s ‘Makers Meeting’ series. The designers and brands were invited to attend the educational event to learn more about the production of wool and gain a greater understanding of the industry, from the provenance of wool to the stakeholders within the industry. By fostering the relationship between top tier Australian designers and brands and the grassroots of the Australian wool industry, AWI aims to strengthen the wool supply chain. The visitors were welcomed on farm by Andrew Morphett and Peter Haywood who run and own ‘Anlaby’. Andrew explained to them the annual cycle of wool-growing and the opportunities and setbacks experienced by farmers throughout the seasons. AWI sheep industry specialist Stuart Hodgson presented a classing demonstration, explaining how to judge a sheep’s qualities, from sheep conformation to wool characteristics, whilst also explaining the lifecycle of a sheep and the skills needed to manage a sheep property. This was followed by a shearing demonstration and a lunch to discuss any questions raised by the visitors. Blair Archibald, a finalist of the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize representing Australia for menswear, says that it is critical for designers to understand how textiles are sourced and produced. “For me, I can incorporate this into my design ethos and continue the conversation of educating clients on the origins of the garments they purchase so that they can make more informed buying choices,” he explained. “The complexities and environmental variables in raising sheep and ensuring as much consistency in the quality as possible was very illuminating to see. I previously understood the dynamics of the wool fibre but didn't fully grasp the specifics of growing wool on a farm of that scale.” For Marina Afonina, 2018/2019 International Woolmark Prize womenswear finalist, the visit provided insight into the production of the fibre she used in the collection Pure Discovery which won her a place at this year’s final. A MEETING OF MAKERS “We really valued the opportunity to be educated by experts on such a prestigious property! We truly believe we gained an advantage by learning the Merino wool process beginning at the lifestyle of a Merino sheep to the culture of the shearers and farmers who maintain the land. The day was completely transparent which allowed us to connect and have a personal relationship to the source,” Marina said. “Having the opportunity of being exposed to the raw fibre has sparked a sensitive and emotional outlook when making decisions within the industry. As a result of our experience we now always think deeper into fabrics, their life span and ethical values. Sampling for Woolmark is so much more rewarding now!” The designers and brands who were hosted on the trip to Anlaby. Back row: Blair Archibald, Margie Woods of Viktoria & Woods, marketing manager Leila Hibri of Helen Kaminski and Jacinta Demetriou of Jacinta James. Front row: Ainsley Hansen of Hansen & Gretel and Marina Afonina of Albus Lumen. AWI’s Stuart Hodgson explains the fundamentals of wool-growing to six top Australian fashion designers and brands in the historic ‘Anlaby’ shearing shed. OFF FARM 17
In the Shops - March 2019