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Beyond the Bale : Oct 07 - Nov 07
AWI participated in the prestigious 2007 Fabrics China Creation New Product Release -- a highlight of the Chinese textile industry calendar -- in Shanghai in August. The conference gives buyers and designers information from leading Chinese companies on trends and innovations in textiles, and facilitates communication and business exchange between fabrics suppliers and buyers. This year, AWI business development manager for greater China Sam Guthrie presented a seminar on the expanding global market for Australian Merino, the AWI business and innovations and trends in Merino for the 2008-09 season. AWI has developed strong business relationships with manufacturing partners in China, developing new Merino innovations for the global market. AWI now plans to build on partnerships with brands selling into the Chinese domestic By Kellie Penfold AWI has hit the road again, promoting Australian Merino wool to retailers planning their northern hemisphere autumn/winter 2008-09 collections. A range of wool innovations was launched at Spin Expo in Shanghai, China, in early September that AWI will take to retailers, designers and processors around the world. "We'll be meeting with 370 retailers around the world in coming months to talk Australian Merino wool," says AWI global product development manager Jimmy Jackson. "Because of our involvement in trade shows such as Spin Expo in the last couple of years, we now have a firm grasp on who works with who and who makes what for who. "Customers have responded well to the platforms on which we have presented Australian Merino wool, each of which encapsulates a number of innovations, so we have built on this in our current marketing strategy." AWI is again working with innovations under three marketing areas -- Merino Care, Merino Soft and Merino Visual. Merino Care features anti-bacterial Merino, anti-moth Merino, moisturising Merino, cool Merino, Australian Merino goes for a spin in Shanghai 21 TEXTILES BEYOND THE BALE Merino presence in China aromatherapy Merino, easy-iron Merino, anti-odour Merino, easy-care Merino, quick-dry Merino and Klimeo Merino. In the Merino Soft story is mercerised Merino, soft classic Merino, soft lambswool Merino, aqua Merino (treated fabric that can absorb moisture to give a cool effect) and ultra-light Merino. For Merino Visual there is spectrum Merino (multi- coloured effects), textured Merino and vintage Merino. "We've further developed some of the innovations from last year and along the way added in some new ones," Mr Jackson says. These innovations are designed to meet the demands of consumers, 22,000 of whom were recently sur veyed in 10 different markets around the world for AWI to get an indication of consumer trends. "One of the main themes to come out was the wellness issue. Baby boomers are spending money on products that are helping their well-being. We've interpreted this through the Merino Care range that features wool fabrics embedded with moisturisers, which slowly release onto your skin while you are wearing them," he says. Garments can now be treated with products such as aloe vera, squalane (an olive oil derivative), Monoi de Tahiti (extract of the Tahitian market, which is a major consumer of Australian Merino. The AWI stand at Fabrics China Creation New Product Release provided information on AWI and Australian Merino products, showcasing innovative partner product samples including Merino Retro with Sunshine Group, Merino Fresco with Shandong Ruyi, Merino La Mode with the Shanghai Textile Centre, Merino Travel with Youngour, plus AWI's autumn/winter knitwear collection -- Merino Care, Soft and Visual. The Fabrics China Creation New Product Release is organised by the China National Textile and Apparel Council and brings together the China Textiles Development Centre and China Textile Information Centre. Fabrics China is a large government-funded organisation that aims to develop the global credibility and market share of the Chinese textile industry. It plays an intermediary role for the Chinese textile industry through co-branding relationships with 800 Chinese brands, retailers and manufacturers that produce high-quality Chinese-made fabrics. ú Tiare flower), passion fruit oil, beeswax or vitamin E as moisturisers, and to cool the wearer down or with essential oils for aromatherapy for energy, revitalisation or relaxation. "The second big story is the green story. People don't want any nasty chemicals near their skin and they also want to invest in products that are environmentally sustainable, and clean and green. "There's the conscious consumer: they want a natural, sustainable product with integrity. This trend really enables Australian Merino wool to go forward. "Another huge trend is casualisation. People are dressing down. You look around and the over-55s are wearing gear that was once only worn by younger people. This is spreading to the workplace." As far as fashion trends go, AWI has a number of innovations and has developed new processes that allow Australian Merino to be considered as a fibre that can work with these garments. "Softness is always in fashion and the outlook is for lots of nostalgic-type garments, such as the old Fair Isle or Shetland sweater. Usually these were made from a very coarse wool, not from Australian Merino, but now we can get that style of knit using a finer 100 per cent Australian wool which, of course, is more comfortable to wear." "We've done more work on the Merino Visual range, which gives processors more reliable techniques to use with wool, such as turning wool fabric into a distressed look, similar to that which has previously only been achieved with denim and cotton. They can now use wool for that bleached, washed-out look and the process ensures the product doesn't fall apart because of such harsh treatment." Mr Jackson says AWI is now speaking the language of the textile and fashion industry and showcasing to them innovations that are technically and commercially viable. "We did more than 100 retail workshops around the world last year and we learnt a lot about the supply chain. Our role is to provide that supply chain with new ideas and answers that will help them keep up with trends. "They want fabrics with new looks, which feel good and perform, and we are giving them those ranges with consistency." ú More information: www.merinoinnovation.com AWI will be meeting with 370 retailers around the world in coming months to talk about Merino wool and what consumers want
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Dec - Jan 08