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Beyond the Bale : March 2011
March 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 15 OFF-FARM MerinoPerformTM range. MerinoPerformTM Pro is a new knitted fabric technology made entirely of Merino wool, which uniquely transfers both vapour and sweat away from the body, enabling the wearer to stay comfortably cool and dry during exercise. Ideal for base-layer garments aimed at low to high activity sports, this innovation is made from a special double-faced 100 per cent MerinoPerformTM fabric. During the initial phases of exercise, the inner layer of the Merino fabric absorbs moisture vapour thereby creating a drier micro-climate. Any sweat is efficiently absorbed by the fabric's outer layer where it quickly evaporates, leaving the wearer cooler and drier. The lightweight fabric of 160-230gsm is machine washable and tumble dryable without any shrinkage or loss of moisture management. CEO of fabric manufacturer Designer Textiles International, Malcolm Walkinshaw, a new member of the MerinoPerformTM FAST FACTS l Outdoor apparel made from Merino wool was prominently on display by brands at this year's ISPO international outdoor and sports trade show. l Exhibitors reported that Merino wool is becoming highly regarded and appreciated as a premium natural performance fibre. lAWI launched the latest innovation in its MerinoPerformTM range of fabrics. " he enthusiasm for Merino is extraordinary!" So said ISPO senior associate Martin Kössler, as he looked down Wool Street at this year's ISPO international outdoor and sports trade show held in Munich, Germany. This is the first year that ISPO has hosted the Wool Street -- an indoor boulevard at the show flanked by the trade stands of major brands selling products made from Merino. "Having so many companies promoting their Merino products together in Wool Street gives the Merino story such a strong impact," Mr Kössler said. "It has been very much appreciated by visitors to have a one-stop-shop where they can find Merino garments and fabrics, as well as get a deeper knowledge and understanding of the natural benefits of the fibre. "There has been a lot of interest in Merino this year and it is our intention to further develop the Wool Street platform together with AWI over the coming years." CEO and founder of iconic US brand Ibex, John Fernsell, which exhibited its next-to-skin and mid layer Merino garments on the Wool Street at ISPO, agreed that the prospects for Merino in the sector are buoyant. "The past year's trend for Merino in performance apparel is unprecedented -- and the demand seems never to stop increasing. The more that customers experience and learn about the benefits of Merino, the more they want it. We are very confident about the future for our Merino products." As well as providing information about sourcing opportunities and the supply chain for Merino wool, AWI was at ISPO to launch the latest innovation in its program, was also exhibiting on the Wool Street. "The opportunity of working with AWI to further develop and expand this market is exciting -- I look forward to our companies jointly fulfilling the potential of Merino wool in the sports market," Mr Walkinshaw said. "Merino is making healthy inroads into this market -- there is now a strong recognition of the natural benefits of Merino amongst sports brands, and Designer Textiles International is using innovative Merino fabrics to differentiate ourselves from synthetics. So the demand for Merino is continuing to increase." In another positive sign for wool, an innovative wool padding for outdoor apparel and equipment, created by German manufacturer Ortovox in partnership with Woolmark licensees Van Riel and Baur, won this year's ISPO European Ski Award for softgoods. The product has an excellent weight-insulation ratio, it can be washed at high temperatures (60°C) and can also be significantly compressed when not in use. More information: www.wool.com/merinoperform www.ispo11.com www.ibex.com www.designertextiles.co.nz Merino: dancing in the Wool Street T AWI was one of many companies promoting Merino products on the Wool Street at the ISPO sports trade show in Germany that attracted 90,000 trade visitors. "THE ENTHUSIASM FOR MERINO IS EXTRAORDINARY!" - MARTIN KÖSSLER, ISPO