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Beyond the Bale : June 2019
The third edition of Woolmark Studio in Shanghai connected members of the wool supply chain and shone the spotlight on opportunities to leverage digital innovation in the wool industry. The digital revolution is rapidly transforming the era in which we live. New technologies, a connected global market and changing ways that modern consumers make their purchasing decisions, have created a more innovative and dynamic environment in which enterprises conduct their business. Highlighting these opportunities for the wool industry, The Woolmark Company in March held its third Woolmark Studio event, at Donghua University with the theme of ‘New Manufacturing, New Retail, New Consumption’. It was attended by a broad range of supply chain businesses and professional institutions. “Only by keeping up with developments in technology and grasping the pulse of innovation can enterprises grasp the future in their own hands,” said AWI Country Manager for China, Jeff Ma, in his opening address to the conference. Key speakers from the wool industry were President of the China Wool Textile Association, Yanli Peng; Director of the China Textile Development Center, Binhong Li; and Qi Zheng from textile manufacturer SHEPHERD. There were also key speakers from the Artificial Intelligence Creation Division at Microsoft Search Technology Center Asia; Microsoft Mixed Reality Asia; Alibaba Tmall Clothing; Gerber Technology; and the Luxe.co luxury fashion website. After the meeting, the guests visited the Wool Education Center at Donghua University’s College of Fashion and Innovation, which was established by The Woolmark Company in May last year. “The Centre enables students, designers and partners throughout the supply chain to explore the benefits and possibilities of Australian wool, and learn about current WOOLMARK STUDIO 3.0 CHINA TALKS DIGITAL INNOVATION The expert speakers at the Woolmark Studio held in March in Shanghai. trends, new technology and supply chain developments,” said Jeff Ma. This was the third edition of the Woolmark Studio, established in 2017 to highlight the benefits of Australian Merino wool to the Chinese textile trade and media. It brings together exhibitions, forums, training and education – connecting the industry upstream and downstream, from manufacturers to retail brands, from designers to fashion media. The inaugural edition of Woolmark Studio was held at Shanghai Fashion Week and shone the spotlight on International Woolmark Prize alumni; the theme of the second edition held last year was sustainability in fashion. For the third year running, one of Japan’s largest apparel brands Nano Universe has increased its sales volume of Woolmark-certified knitted garments, thanks to a co-branded promotion with The Woolmark Company. MERINO KNITWEAR BIG IN JAPAN Established in 2002, Nano Universe sells quality casual wear to young men and women. It is the largest multi-brand store chain of TSI Holdings, one of the biggest apparel groups in Japan. While Nano Universe has impressive annual sales of more than AU$300 million, TSI Holdings has annual sales of a massive AU$1.9 billion and owns many other well known apparel brands including Margaret Howell and the domestic rights for streetwear brand Stussy. The Woolmark Company has supported the knitwear campaigns of Nano Universe’s private brand (70% of its sales) since the Autumn/ Winter 2016 season. Production volumes of Woolmark-certified men’s pieces (average price of AU$115) have more than quadrupled during the past three years from 20,000 pieces to 83,000 pieces. “We have been keen to keep supporting the increase in sales of Nano Universe’s Woolmark-certified Merino knitwear collections, but also encourage the company to introduce wool into new product categories,” said AWI Country Manager Japan, Samuel Cockedey. “We want to make Nano Universe and TSI Holdings strong partners for future collaborations and potential new licensees.” The Woolmark Company’s contribution to the Nano Universe campaign this past autumn was to provide a ‘Merino Wool Benefits’ brochure for distribution to all customers who buy Woolmark- certified products. Nano Universe promoted its Woolmark-certified products in advertorials in men's magazines, on co-branded in-store point of sale collateral, and on dedicated pages on the company’s website. The promotion emphasised the anti-pilling properties of the knitwear. The sales of Woolmark- certified Merino knitwear of Japanese brand Nano Universe have quadrupled during the past three years. OFF FARM 17