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Beyond the Bale : Dec 08 - Jan 09
Australian Wool Innovation Limited AWI, GPO Box 4177, Sydney NSW 2001 our best sellers.” After attending the Melbourne Institute of Textiles, working in retail and designing her own clothes, Kirrily launched her label, ‘Kirrily Johnston’, at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in 2004. “I wanted to be a designer from the time I was 14. I had a very natural instinct and made my own clothes from a really young age.” Her debut at the 2004 event saw her receive outstanding reviews from some of Australia’s most influential fashion editors and, since then, her label has become increasingly sought-after by fashion- conscious consumers and celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Toni Colette, Mischa Barton, Kate Hudson and Megan Gale. The range is sold through two Australian flagship stores and 50 worldwide stockists, including retailers in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Germany, Ireland, the US and New Zealand. Kirrily focuses on luxurious fabrics and quality craftsmanship, giving her range a detailed and tailored, yet modern edge. And now, through her association with AWI, she is gaining access to innovative fabrics and yarns made with Australian Merino. “AWI has really opened my eyes to what’s new and exciting about Australian Merino wool.” Australian Merino is used in Kirrily’s knitted and PRoFIle Kirrily Johnston Fashion Designer Fashion ‘foreigner’ earns high praise in New Zealand Being invited to participate in Air New Zealand Fashion Week is an unusual compliment for an Australian fashion designer. This is because the event is traditionally open only to New Zealanders. However, Kirrily Johnston is not just the first Australian designer to be involved – she is the first international showcase altogether. Kirrily says it was an amazing experience, which tied in fortuitously with her relationship with AWI. “It was a great honour to be asked to be the first international designer ever to show there,” she says. “It was also fantastic timing, as we had just begun our association with AWI, and what better place than New Zealand to show off all of our amazing woollen garments.” The Sydneysider’s autumn/winter 2009 collection – ‘Black Perfume’ – used black, cream, burnt orange and gold to create an air of mystery and dark romance, she says. Although Kirrily’s association with AWI – which aims to showcase her extensive use of Australian Merino – is a recent development, her familiarity with wool goes back to her childhood. “My mother used to knit garments and sell them to stores,” she says. “So I learnt to knit when I was a kid. I always had a love of knitwear because of this and a really good understanding of wool and what to do with it. “Knitwear and wool have featured heavily in my collections from the beginning, and to this day are woven products, which make up 60 per cent of her clothing range. “It is an incredibly versatile fibre, and offers the high quality that my customers demand: they want high quality natural fibres and Australian Merino delivers.” Although Kirrily feels customers are not necessarily focused on ‘green’ or environmentally friendly products, they do “trust that they are getting high quality, ethical garments made from natural fibres of the highest standards”. Kirrily says it is an exciting time to be working with Australian Merino due to the new developments in processing (of which AWI keeps her continually updated). “We are now using Australian Merino widely in our spring/summer collections. It is amazing to see wool, which used to be pigeon-holed into winter, being used in so many different ways. “Some of the fabrics made from Australian Merino are so light and cool that they can be worn in the hottest months of the year. They wear well and they last, which is so important to my clients who are looking for longevity in their garments.” And as the broader fashion industry looks to designers for the latest trends, Kirrily says her work with fabrics like Australian Merino could have a ‘trickle down’ effect. “Using and promoting Australian Merino is a reminder to people that wool can be used in so many ways and, also more importantly, that it is important to use and promote Australian products. We are very proud to be able to do this.” l This year’s winner of ‘Fashions on the Field’ at the Melbourne Cup was wearing Kirrily Johnston. More information: www.kirrilyjohnston.com – ReBeCCA THyeR
February March 2009
Oct - Nov 08