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Beyond the Bale : June August 2009
18 Fashion Sydney show crowds warm to wool awards By Kellie Penfold T his year, for the first time, the australian Wool Fashion awards were staged outside armidale and now over 100,000 people know more about Merino in fashion as a result. The australian Wool Fashion awards (TaWFa) moved wool designs to the main stage this year when the award ceremony, attended by 400 guests, was held at the sydney Royal Easter show, with successive crowd-pulling parades – drawing up to 100,000 people in total – staged on each of the show’s 14 days. awards coordinator Liz Foster, a woolgrower from armidale in nsW’s new England region, says that by taking the awards to the people, wool was introduced to audiences who may not have seen wool used in such varied ways before. “There is no other collection of wool garments as those which come together for TaWFa and this year’s 350 entries were inspiring,” she says. “if each person who saw the parade now has a greater understanding of the qualities of wool fabrics then that is a great outcome.” The aim of TaWFa is to encourage the use of wool by young designers. aWi has been a major sponsor of TaWFa for the past eight years, this year contributing $100,000 of support. now a major wool industry event, TaWFa helps drive the development and promotion of wool to the australian fashion world. Liz says the best-supported section this year was the secondary award, where high school students were given wool fabric and asked to design a garment with a military theme. The result was not necessarily aussie anZaC in flavour … more sergeant Pepper. “There were more brass buttons and braids then you’d ever have seen in the army and the designs were fabulous. hopefully those young designers will go on having a good relationship with wool as they get older,” she says. Travelling to sydney for the duration It’s positively natural for Rachel What started out as a challenging fashion college assignment ended in accolades for young Sydney-based designer Rachel Hunt when she won the Supreme Award at The Australian Wool Fashion Awards (TAWFA) this year. As a final project for the Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design) at Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney, Rachel and her peers were asked to design an evening gown using wool fabric taking inspiration from historic armoury. The resulting garment – a silver grey gown with heavy boning and a crinoline, which gives the full skirt a bell-like look – took out the Supreme Award, which Rachel hopes will be a fillip as she embarks on a design career. After an internship in the costume department of the television drama Rescue (currently in production), Rachel now works for Australian fashion house Cue as a sample cutter. (from left) AWI Ceo Brenda McGahan, TAWfA coordinator liz foster, model Tara Riley wearing the winning gown, Supreme Award winner Rachel Hunt and AWI Chairman Wal Merriman. The long-term goal for the 26-year- old, who lives in The Oaks on Sydney’s outskirts, is to work in movie costume design. In the meantime she is enjoying working for a company where she is in touch daily with the full complement of fashion industry specialists, from designers to people in the marketing department. After seeing the myriad wool garments on the TAWFA catwalk, Rachel says wool and natural fibres will always have a place in her designs. She enjoyed the workability of the five metres of felted wool in her garment and its luxurious finish and fall. “The most exciting aspect of wool is sustainability,” she says. “It’s a renewable resource and as a designer I find that a positive. “In the future I’d like to work with fabrics which have traceability back to the source, so customers can be assured the animals who grew the fibre were treated well.” Rachel is already planning her entries for next year’s TAWFA and is thinking of wool and silk or mohair blends. “Seeing your creations on the catwalk is great for your self esteem, but it also adds a lot to your resume. I’d encourage other young designers to enter,” she says. – KellIe Penfold of the show were 24 local armidale models and four dressers. Liz says the support of the Royal agricultural society and aWi in organising the logistics of the event allowed her to concentrate on orchestrating a dynamic parade. The collection of winning garments is on show at events around australia, having already travelled to Yeoval, Wellington and back to armidale. The next stop is a parade at the stockman’s hall of Fame at Longreach, followed by the Muttaburra sheep show. Community groups are encouraged to contact TaWFa to discuss using the collection at any upcoming events. “i feel TaWFa has been reinvigorated by the move to sydney,” Liz says. More information: www.tawfa.com.au June – august 2009 Beyond The Bale
April May 2009
September November 2009