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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 11 OFF-FARM FAST FACTS l AWI's Wool4Skool competition has been building an awareness of the natural benefits and versatility of wool among a new generation. l Students entering the competition had to submit designs for a new school uniform that incorporated various wool innovations. l Teachers were also encouraged to get involved -- the competition was aligned with a number of syllabus areas of the curriculum. School students from across the country have been learning about the benefits and versatility of wool fabrics, by taking part in AWI's inaugural Wool4Skool competition. The aim of the competition, targeted at Australian secondary school students in Years 9 and 10, was for the students to redesign their school uniform using various wool innovations. 65 schools from across Australia registered for the competition. The winners of the design competition were announced at The Australian Wool Fashion Awards (TAWFA) during the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and made-up versions of the winning entries paraded on the TAWFA catwalk. The winning Wool4Skool uniform designs were also presented last month at the schools of the students who created them. 1500 students from Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne cheered as Thao Nguyen was presented with the winning cheque for $1000 while her winning uniforms were paraded at a school function. Meanwhile, Tempe High School in Sydney is having the second prize winning uniforms from Michelle Xiang and Nancy He on display at the school to create discussion. "My design was inspired by the Dalton Academy Warblers from the TV show Glee," Ms Nguyen said. "Through the competition I learnt a lot about fabric innovations and the different types of wool; I used the MerinoFresh, MerinoSet, some wool-blend and anti-odour fabrics." According to the judging panel that included RM Williams executive designer Jonathan Ward and TAWFA manager Liz Foster, the two winning entries were successful because of their detailed understanding of how using wool in the garments transformed their uniforms. "I was very impressed by the way the students used the versatility of wool across wovens and knits in many different items. Together with the lightweight next to skin fabrics it makes for a great opportunity for students to interpret this great Australian natural fibre," Mr Ward said. The Wool4Skool competition was designed to be incorporated into the Design and Textiles syllabus in schools and a number of teachers took the opportunity to place the competition within the structured learning of the classroom. Technology and textile teacher at the winning school, Katrina Wheaton-Penniall, said she placed Wool4Skool within her teaching program as it fitted neatly within the curriculum. "Students were well engaged and drawn to the project from the start, not just because of the generous prizes but because it empowered them to create their own uniform. It worked well for the 17 students of mine that entered," she said. AWI Communications Manager Marius Cuming, who came up with the original idea of the competition, said Wool4Skool brought together many skills from within the wool industry. "The Australian Wool Education Trust funded the production of sample packs that allowed the students to touch and feel different wool fabrics. The AWI Off- Farm R&D team had developed the fabric packs which contained eight innovative fabrics. It was also great that TAWFA also incorporated Wool4Skool as one of the categories in this year 's Awards. The whole competition itself was run by AWI in partnership with the Education Department of NSW." Planning is now underway for the 2012 competition. More information: www.wool.com Wool4Skool makes wool cool AWI marketing projects coordinator Renee Trad (left) and AWI communications manager Marius Cuming (right) presenting the winning Wool4Skool prize to Thao Nguyen (centre) of Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne during school assembly. The two other students are modelling the winning design.