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Beyond the Bale : December 2010
12 OFF-FARM December 2010 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l The reception to AWI's new 'Merino Retract' knitwear technology has been very positive. l AWI has exhibited its autumn/ winter 2011/12 collection at leading international trade shows. l AWI organised a study tour for key Hong Kong knitters to the Shanghai region, to educate them about Merino wool. The reception to AWI's new 'Merino Retract' knitwear technology, which was launched at July's SpinExpo trade show in New York and again marketed at September's SpinExpo trade show in Shanghai, has been very positive. Garments made from 'Merino Retract' yarns have the attractive look and feel of boiled wool, but have none of the deficiencies of normal boiled wool products. The garments are fully machine washable and have excellent stretch recovery properties, so they don't suffer from bagging. AWI general manager of product development and commercialisation Jimmy Jackson says there has been a lot of interest in the 'Merino Retract' technology, which is part of AWI's Merino Casual autumn/winter 2011/12 collection. "The innovation was a real star of the shows and received a lot of attention, inspiring interest from many of the visiting buyers and merchandisers," Mr Jackson says. "Boiled wool has been available for many years now and is well known for its unique texture and casual aesthetic. But unfortunately, it has also been well known for its stiffness, which tends to restrict it to certain garment styles and it's difficult if not impossible to make it machine washable. "However, 'Merino Retract' is based on the use of specially engineered wool yarns, which can be simply knitted and the boiled wool appearance and texture is then developed during the subsequent garment finishing process. "The resulting fabric and garment has the look of 'boiled' wool but with excellent stretch recovery properties and is also fully machine washable. In addition the styles of garments which can be produced are not as limited." The 'Merino Retract' technology and the rest of AWI's Merino Casual collection address the global trend towards a more informal, casual style of dressing. They have a stylish new 'edge' targeted at the young fashion-conscious street wear and casual wear markets. AWI has also been exhibiting its range of Merino TouchTM commercial apparel made from super-soft yarns and fabrics that provide a touch of luxury in an affordable knitted garment. AWI is now conducting workshops around the world to buying and design teams of the world's leading apparel brands and retailers. More information: www.wool.com/collections Brenda Yang of AWI Hong Kong office explaining AWI's recent textile innovations to potential supply chain partners at the SpinExpo trade show in Shanghai. To coincide with the SpinExpo trade show at Shanghai in September, AWI's Hong Kong office organised a 4-day study tour of wool supply chain partners in the Shanghai/Hangzhou regions for 10 key designers, merchandisers and product development executives from Hong Kong textile companies. The aim was to educate the textile companies' staff about the Merino wool supply chain and wool processing. The study tour visited five factories including a digital printing factory, a top making factory, a woollen yarn spinning mill and a worsted yarn spinning mill in the region. The tour ended with a visit to SpinExpo to learn about AWI's Merino TouchTM and Merino Casual collections. Designer Ms Debbie Leung who was on the study tour said she found the trip very useful: "The tour leader (Daniel Chan of the AWI Hong Kong Office) is knowledgeable, helpful, caring, accommodating and flexible... The factories were very kind and generous." Ms Joies Ng, Product Development Manager of Sun Hing Knitting Pty Ltd summed up the tour: "The tour is very good and informative." Merino innovations showcased