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Beyond the Bale : June 2019
The provenance of Australian wool continues to be of great relevance to brands, retailers and consumers. This season Country Road has introduced an initiative that verifies that the Merino wool in its knitwear range is from Australia. Country Road’s new marketing campaign for this winter season, titled ‘On the Land’, features premium quality woollen products and leverages the farm to fashion story as a core ingredient in its high-value end product. Sharing a commitment to Australian wool, Country Road and The Woolmark Company have enjoyed a collaborative relationship since the 1980s. Every year the companies work together to create beautiful garments crafted with Woolmark-certified Australian Merino wool. Natural yarns are woven throughput this season’s products – for men, women and children – and emphasise the natural qualities of the fabrications, such as warmth for Merino wool. The latest campaign was filmed and shot in Tasmania, with one of the models being country girl Atty Mitchell (see the photo right) who featured in the cover story of the March 2018 edition of Beyond the Bale. VERIFIED AUSTRALIAN WOOL This winter season, Country Road has introduced a Verified Australian Wool initiative that applies to its Traceable Merino Knits range. Country Road has partnered with Oritain, who use forensic science to determine where the Merino wool originates. Every fibre in the range can be mapped back to Australian farms. “There’s a story about traceability which is now really coming out to the consumer, people want to know provenance,” said Oritain Australia Managing Director, Sandon Adams. “What we’re there to do is to verify a claim: this product is being sold that says it’s Australian Merino. Is it truthful?” Mr Adams explains that the geochemistry of the environment differs upon where in the world you are. “Some soils are nutrient rich, some are poor; some are high in elements, some are low. All these attributes combine in what we call a chemical fingerprint. We’ve mapped the chemical fingerprint of Australia and the majority of the world for wool, which we then use to verify where a product has originated. “It’s a way to highlight that these are the people doing the right things. These are good suppliers, they're selling an authentic product and here’s the proof to show that they are.” A GOOD YARN Also featured in the campaign are three of the many people who work to produce wool: a woolgrower, a stockwoman and a shearer. Julian von Bibra, who with his wife Annabel runs Beaufront Station near Ross in Tasmania, said woolgrowers need to be mindful of the animal. “These animals, they’re born on the property, and we’re responsible for looking after them. We nurture them. We’re dependent on each other in that we provide them with food and water, see that they’re well looked after, and at the same time respect the process that they’re providing the wool. “We’ve got an opportunity to create an amazing garment that we use in the fashion industry and its coming from an animal on our farm. What an amazing story that is in terms of a natural fibre." An important part of the supply chain arrangement for the Verified Australian Wool program is Alistair Calvert of Wool Solutions, a new Tasmanian wool marketing and brokerage business, who liaised between Country Road and the woolgrowers to supply the wool for the program. “Relationships are key to the success of programs like this; by bringing the grower and the brand together we can form a long term, sustainable supply of wool for Country Road,” Alistair said. “The other key factor ensuring the success of this program is the fact that we are working closely with Australian Merino Exports who, via their traceability app, provide full transparency of the logistics and processing involved to both grower and brand alike.” Country Road’s marketing covered online channels including website, social media, video and direct emails; as well as in-store marketing collateral including retail window displays, pop- up displays and banners in its own stores and outlets including David Jones. Country Road has 79 retail stores and 96 concessions across Australia. MORE INFORMATION www.countryroad.com/a-good-yarn COUNTRY ROAD'S GOOD YARN In all its retail stores as well as online, Country Road is promoting the Australian origin of the wool it uses. Pictured is a window display at Country Road’s South Yarra store in Melbourne. A promotion on the Country Road website, which provides shoppers with direct links to purchase wool garments. 12 OFF FARM