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Beyond the Bale : Apr 07 - May 07
The demand for Australian Merino wool to be used in base-layer clothing is growing, as the fibre's characteristics become more advanced and widely understood. Kenyon Consumer Products, a major US base-layer apparel manufacturer for the sporting, outdoor, hunting and fishing markets, is working with AWI to create a new range for their collections. Kenyon is said to be the largest producer in this market, and its products are regarded as being at the quality end of the base-layer clothing market. The Kenyon Merino range is made using innovative 'mercerised' Merino wool. The mercerising procedure leaves the Merino fibre with a silk-like appearance. Customers can actually see the improved lustre and the luxury of garments made from mercerised Merino. To gain the benefits of mercerised Merino, the treatment is applied to worsted top. During treatment the scale structure on the fibre's surface is removed, increasing the amount of specular reflection (directing reflected light) and the lustre or brightness of the fibre. Mercerised Merino is more compatible to blending with fibres such as cashmere and silk. The end result is Merino wool- knitted fabric that is durable, soft against the skin, versatile, breathable and flexible -- all of which makes it ideal for activewear. There are three initial styles in the Kenyon range of Merino thermal apparel including a men's short-sleeve top, men's long-sleeve top and thermal bottoms. The preliminary range has three colour options -- sand, navy and black -- for the thermal base layer. Kenyon has previously worked with synthetic fibres to produce thermal apparel. Today, the drive from consumers towards natural fibres, combined with the benefits of new technology, has led Kenyon to form a working relationship with AWI. "The capabilities of the Merino fibre, combined with its natural durability and performance attributes, made it the top option when we were looking to create this range of thermal activewear," says Andy Curtis from Kenyon. "We are astounded by the luxurious quality offered by the mercerised Merino. So many of our customers have been impressed when viewing the new collection: many can't believe their eyes when we tell them it is made using Australian Merino wool." Kenyon's new range of thermal offerings provides customers with maximum comfort and warmth at all temperature and activity levels. The range was recently launched at trade shows in January and February 2007 across the US, including SHOT Show (hunting and fishing), SKI show and Outdoor Retailer. "The range has also been well received by one of our military customers who have printed a full adoption in their major catalogue, released in February," Mr Curtis says. Kenyon sees the opportunity to use the innovative mercerised Merino in more applications, including women's wear, and a larger variety of styles in the future. ú More information: www.merinoinnovation.com; www.kenyonconsumer.com Technology adds lustre to new market Mercerised Australian Merino wool -- breathable, silky, soft and flexible -- forms the foundation of US base-layer clothing giant Kenyon's new range By Melissa Marino A new lightweight fibre to maximise comfort and protection using Australian Merino wool has featured at the international fashion knitwear trade fair, Spin Expo, in Shanghai. Called Merino Coolmax®, and developed through a collaboration between AWI and international synthetics manufacturer INVISTA, the fibre has been described by Spin Expo organisers as one of the most exciting new developments seen in knitwear in recent years. The blending of Australian Merino with INVISTA's well-known synthetic Coolmax® creates an oval-shaped, ridged, 'hydrophilic' fibre, which attracts moisture and then draws it away from the body. AWI's global product development manager, Jimmy Jackson, says Merino Coolmax®, originally developed as performance wear, has crossed over into the fashion market, for anything from lingerie to haute couture, with several key international retailers already interested. The collaboration extends the life of the Merino fashion program from winter into spring, Mr Jackson says, satisfying the need, particularly in Europe, for lightweight knitwear. The new product was showcased in March in Shanghai -- which has emerged as an international fashion centre -- at one of the machine knitting industry's main events, the Spin Expo spring/summer 2008 season fair. Although AWI has a smaller profile at the spring Spin Expo than its winter sister show, Mr Jackson says it is important that AWI maintains its presence. "Most of our focus is on the autumn/winter market, but you've got to keep the momentum," he says. "There are two major shows of the year and people will come by to see what you're doing if you have a continuous presence." Being involved in the spring event has also exposed Australian Merino to new markets already opened by the collaboration with INVISTA, he says. "It gives us the opportunity to talk to manufacturers and buyers who don't have any Merino in their range. It opens up a new customer base that might not otherwise think about wool." ú More information: www.merinoinnovation.com 18 WOOL FOR OUTDOORS BEYOND THE BALE "The capabilities of the Merino fibre, combined with its natural durability and performance attributes, made it the top option when we were looking to create this range of thermal activewear." -- ANDY CURTIS Merino Coolmax®: performance wear crosses over into the fashion market. Merino Coolmax puts Shanghai in a spin The debut of the AWI--INVISTA fibre Merino Coolmax® has been described as one of the most exciting new developments in knitwear in years
Jun 07 - Jul 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement