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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
The seven fashion and textile students from Asia who won awards in the competitions on the previous page visited Australia in May to experience first-hand the wool industry in this country and to see the source of the fibre that they use in their designs. They take back home an experience that will inspire them for years to come. STUDENT WOOL WINNERS IN ASIA VISIT AUSTRALIA The Woolmark Company regularly hosts delegations of fashion and textile students from overseas and from within Australia, to educate and inspire the students about Australian wool, the supply chain, and the benefits and attributes of the fibre. The most recent delegation of students came from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across Asia. These students had received a scholarship for the trip after creating Merino wool garments that won fashion design awards (see previous page). Overall, the students gained a valuable insight into the fibre and developed a strong attachment with the industry here in Australia. They will take this valuable information back with them and employ this knowledge as they begin their careers in fashion and textile design. INDUSTRY OVERVIEW AT AWI HQ After arriving in Sydney the previous day, the seven students were welcomed into the AWI office by AWI CEO Stuart McCullough and staff to receive (along with fashion sponsorship recipients from TAFE NSW) insights into the work undertaken by AWI and its subsidiary The Woolmark Company. “During the tour I leant lots about the features of wool. By far the greatest gain was learning the story behind wool. I will now use more wool fibre in the future to support the sustainable clothing industry.” Lin Lin, student at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology Some of AWI’s innovations, such as Optim technology and wool footwear, were shown to the students. Everyone took a great deal away from this meeting, learning about the potential of wool in different market sectors. “Following the presentations, I now have a deeper understanding of the versatility of wool. The application of wool fabrics in outdoor sports clothing products and the promotion of human health particularly impressed me,” said Hiu Ham Lui of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. THE WOOL AUCTION The following day the delegation travelled to the wool auctions at Yennora in Sydney, where they were run through the processes involved after wool leaves the farm gate ready to be sold at the auction centre. The wool classification process was explained to the students alongside them being shown a variety of different wool samples. “People might have thought that wool is just a material that can be made into clothes. But we have learnt to distinguish the quality of wool fibre from its thickness, length and strength, and determine what type of wool would be most suitable for knitwear for example,” said Suhui Song of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University. THE FARM VISIT After waking up and seeing kangaroos from their windows, the delegation from Asia was joined by students from University of Technology Sydney (who are a part of AWI’s study tour sponsorship program) to learn the basics of growing wool and the importance of research and development. This was followed by a hands-on viewing of sheep and a farm tour where they learnt the important role farmers play in ensuring the quality of wool and the health and welfare The students attended the wool auctions at Yenorra learning how wool is bought and sold. The students undertook a farm tour with some Australian students, where they received an introduction to wool production. of their flocks. “I learnt that the relationship between woolgrowers and sheep is one of mutual dependence,” said Yishu Zhang of Donghua University. “Woolgrowers provide a comfortable environment for their sheep, and the sheep produce wool to create income for the woolgrowers, which provides sustainable development.” NATIONAL MERINO CHALLENGE The final day of the tour saw the delegation visit the National Merino Challenge (see page 32), which gave the students a unique opportunity to engage with young woolgrowers and future industry leaders. This visit gave students a chance to see in practice much of what they had learnt in previous days. OFF FARM 27
In the Shops - September 2019