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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
10 OFF-FARM June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE The Australian Wool Fashion Awards (TAWFA) this year celebrated its 30th anniversary of raising wool's awareness among designers and consumers. Based at Armidale on the fine wool growing New England Tablelands in NSW, TAWFA organiser Liz Foster has helped promote wool through the competition to hundreds of budding designers over the years. "The Awards started in the early 1980s and was designed to promote wool in all its many aspects, but with particular emphasis on developing wool's role in the international fashion world," Liz says. "The event started as a small local fashion parade but soon grew to importance, evolving into one of Australia's most enduring fashion competitions with hundreds of entries each year across many categories. "One of the Award's aims is to introduce young designers to the wonderful qualities of wool. Secondary and tertiary fashion students not only have special categories but can receive donated fabric to create their entries. It's a 'grass roots' education for future fashion leaders. "As a woolgrower myself, I want to encourage and educate younger people about the natural fibre so important to many country areas." One hundred designs, all demonstrating FAST FACTS l Australian Merino wool apparel was showcased to tens of thousands of visitors at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show. l The Australian Wool Fashion Awards, which helps introduce young designers to the qualities of wool, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year at the Show. l The Woolmark Fashion Parades, which feature some of Australia's most iconic brands, returned to the Show this year after a seventeen year hiatus. Showcasing Aussie design talent WOOLMARK FASHION PARADES RETURN TO THE EASTER SHOW Returning to the Sydney Royal Easter Show schedule this year after a seventeen year hiatus, the Woolmark Fashion Parades featured some of Australia's most iconic brands such as R M Williams and EMU alongside some of Australia's newest and most influential designer labels including Carl Kapp, ELLERY and Ginger & Smart. The Woolmark Fashion Parades ran twice daily for a week during the Easter Show, and complemented the TAWFA fashion parades. About a million visitors to the Easter Show, all potential new wool consumers, had a chance to view the fashion parades and see wool make fashion come alive. As well as entertaining the crowds, the return of the Woolmark Fashion Parades to the Easter Show also provided the designers and retailers with a credible and sophisticated branding and sales opportunity. Models exhibiting the "Yetty" wool garments of 2011 TAWFA Supreme Award winner Jacquelyn Wellington at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. "THE EVENT STARTED AS A SMALL LOCAL FASHION PARADE BUT SOON GREW TO IMPORTANCE, EVOLVING INTO ONE OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST ENDURING FASHION COMPETITIONS" LIZ FOSTER the versatility of wool, were shown in thirty five parades during the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Sponsored by AWI, the Awards each year showcase the latest wool and wool blend fabrics. This year, very fine lightweight wool chiffon was distributed to many of the young designers to interpret through their designs. The 2011 Awards also included the inaugural Wool4Skool category, initiated by AWI (see article on opposite page). In front of a large media contingent, more than 70 prizes were awarded to 100 finalist entries in 12 categories. The winners list included school and fashion college students and recent graduates, as well as previous and successful entrants. Jacquelyn Wellington, who graduated from UTS in 2010, took out the Young Designer Award and the 2011 Supreme Award with her Yetty collection of six garments. More information: www.tawfa.com.au