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Beyond the Bale : June 2011
19 OFF-FARM June 2011 BEYOND THE BALE holding seminars on technical topics, such as manufacturing systems, as well as promotional topics, such as the benefits of Merino wool. For example, AWI recently arranged technical training about sweater manufacturing and new innovations to AWI's brand partners and the supply chain. The training was undertaken by Mr Yeung Sau Wong, a senior technical services manager at the Crystal Group, one of the major sweater manufacturers in Hong Kong, who has 45 years experience in the sweater industries. The training was well received by everyone who attended the seminar. Mr Oliver Tang, the fabric technologist at NEXT Sourcing stated: "I am so glad that I had the chance of participating in this conference; I found it is very useful to my work." The senior merchandiser of DKNY, Ms Gabriel Cheng, agreed: "This knowledge is very informative and valuable to us. I am very happy to have attended the training course." While AWI has over the past few years focused training on the clothing and textile trade, AWI is this year also promoting Merino and the Woolmark brand to a younger generation. This is done by providing in-house training for the major educational institutions, such as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Hong Kong Design Institute, and high schools. Hong Kong has world-class textile education facilities that attract key personnel from around the region. Their fashion shows attract support, sponsorship and raw materials from many of the region's key knitwear and apparel companies. AWI has been involved, building relationships with young fashion designers and encouraging them to use Merino wool in their designs. For example, AWI has partnered for the past four years with Hong Kong PolyU's Institute of Textiles and Clothing, the country's most prestigious design school, to showcase Merino wool in contemporary design at its annual graduation fashion show. PRODUCT INNOVATION The AWI Hong Kong office is one of the AWI offices most involved in the development of new product innovations. Working with its business partners, AWI begins developing its new product offering a full two seasons before the garments start being sold in the shops. While this might seem a long time, it takes time for products to be developed and marketed, and then for the garments to be ordered, manufactured, transported and shelved. There is a nine-month product development phase, followed by the all- important product marketing 'window of opportunity', during which retailers and brands in the Northern Hemisphere collect product ideas for their collections. One of the product innovations that AWI Hong Kong helped develop was the Merino Casual collection, which features distinctive textures and finishes, to take advantage of the global trend towards casual-style dressing. Director Bernia Chan of premium knitwear manufacture Fenix Hong Kong Ltd says: "AWI's professional team has developed a lot of new technologies for our industry. The 3-D Merino knitwear technology was one in particular that our designers have used." More information: www.wool.com View a video about the work undertaken by AWI Hong Kong office on behalf of Australian woolgrowers, on the Woolmark channel on YouTube at www.youtube.com/woolmarkonline Top right: In-house Merino knowledge training at AWI Hong Kong to staff of the Chicks underwear brand. Bottom right: Staff in the AWI Hong Kong office celebrating Chinese New Year. "THE NUMBER OF MERINO PIECES THAT WE SOLD ROSE 166 PER CENT COMPARED WITH LAST YEAR --A217PERCENT INCREASE IN SALES VALUE. IT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A VERY SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN" WING FUNG, CHICKS BRAND