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Beyond the Bale : September 2011
12 OFF-FARM September 2011 BEYOND THE BALE World-class textile education facilities in Hong Kong attract key personnel from around the region, and their fashion shows attract support, sponsorship and raw materials from many of the region's key knitwear and apparel companies including AWI. By sponsoring awards at these fashion shows, AWI aims to raise awareness of the natural benefits of Australian Merino wool among the young generation of design talent in Hong Kong. The objective is that the designers will use Merino wool in their future collections. During the past few months, AWI has sponsored a "Best Use of Australian Merino" award at four major fashion shows that have attracted audiences of nearly 1500 people, including members of the region's apparel companies: l Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) Knitwear & Accessories Show (18 May). AWI award winner: Penny Chan l Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) Fashion Show 2011 (9 June). AWI award winner: Barbie Chan l HKDI Graduation Fashion Show 2011 (23 June). AWI award winner: Yan Chan l Caritas Bianchi College of Careers (CBCC) 18th Fashion Show 2011 (7 July). AWI award winner: Kevin Leung. The AWI-sponsored prizes are a trip to Australia to receive training about Merino wool. Here the prize-winning designers meet woolgrowers on their properties, visit a wool auction, AWEX and AWTA, and exchange ideas with local fashion designers. The relevance and importance of Hong Kong's young fashion designers is also attracting interest directly from individual Australian woolgrowers who in recent years have been providing their own sponsorship for awards at the fashion shows. A group of woolgrowers from South Australia -- known as Flinders Merino -- have sponsored an award at the PolyU Fashion Show for the past four years. The winner of the Australia Study Tour Scholarship sponsored by Flinders Merino this year was Jean Chan, who is rewarded by a trip to Australia and an educational stay on wool- growing properties in the Flinders. The Flinders Merino representatives at this year's event were Val Power of 'Sambas', Orroroo, and Julia Clarke of 'Pamatta Station', Carrieton. "The designers showed individuality and amazing skills involving the different themes they used to put their designs together. This resulted in a very entertaining fashion parade," Val said. Julia commented, "I thought the fashion show was highly professional and many of the designers showed work which was inspired and original. We were impressed with the winners of both awards especially their originality and the ability to make the designs commercially viable." While in Hong Kong, Val and Julia took the opportunity to visit the PolyU Fashion Design Studio and the Clothing Industry Training Authority to learn more about the Hong Kong fashion industry. In July, Greg Andrew and Nicole Luckraft from 'Hamilton Run', Jamestown, South Australia presented an Australian Merino Study Tour Scholarship, which they were sponsoring, at the CBCC Fashion Show, won by Julia Tong. Hong Kong is one of the world's major knitwear exporters. As the gateway for southern and eastern Chinese wool processors and manufacturers, it is a global hub for sourcing wool garments particularly for the major US and European brands. More information: www.wool.com/HK FAST FACTS l AWI is promoting the benefits of Australian Merino wool to the young generation of Hong Kong designers. l AWI and also individual Australian woolgrower groups are sponsoring awards at the region's student fashion shows. l Hong Kong is a key region in the global textiles industry, being the knitwear and fashion centre of Asia. Merino designers in Hong Kong Top right: Flinders Merino visits the Hong Kong PolyU Fashion Design Studio. Left to right: Vincy Cheng, AWI; Val Power and Julia Clarke, Flinders Merino; Dr Judyanna Ng and Liliane Tang, Hong Kong PolyU. Right: Greg Andrew and Nicole Luckraft from 'Hamilton Run', Jamestown, South Australia inspect designers' portfolios at Caritas Bianchi College of Careers.