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Beyond the Bale : Feb 07 - Mar 07
TAWFA Awards open 2007 marks 26 years of the Australian Wool Fashion Awards (TAWFA), and organisers are saying interest in designing with wool is at its highest level. Entries are now open in this year's awards, which will be announced at Armidale in northern NSW on 17 March. TAWFA managing director Liz Foster says the design competition has become one of the wool industry's most enduring promotional events, with more than 300 entrants in 13 sections. Sponsored by AWI, the winners are announced at a spectacular fashion show with the collection then circulated to parades and demonstrations around the world. "Our aim is to showcase fresh and innovative design using Australian Merino wool and its wonderful qualities," Ms Foster says, adding that entries are welcome from fashion designers of all ages. "Another aim is to introduce young designers to wool and its design potential.We not only have special categories for students, but they can receive donated fabric to create their designs." For the first time there will also be a section for established professional designers. Special awards will be made for the most marketable garment, the tertiary award for an entrant studying at TAFE, university or tertiary institution and the supreme award for the best garment from all winning garments. A detailed portfolio must accompany all entries, providing the details of the Ten representatives of the Hong Kong knitwear industry now have a greater knowledge of the Australian Merino, following an AWI- facilitated, Hong Kong government-funded study tour of the Australian wool industry by a delegation from the Hong Kong Productivity Council. Considered the global hub for sourcing wool garments, Hong Kong exports more wool knitwear than any other country and is the gateway to the rest of China for many US brand retailers. The delegation included the chief executive of Natalia Fashion Ltd, senior managers from Crystal Sweater Ltd, a designer from Tien-hu Knitters Ltd, directors from Timing Ind Co Ltd and Pine Hover Ltd and a manager from Fang Brothers Knitting Ltd. The first stop for the delegates was a visit to AWI, where they learnt how AWI's business-to-business strategy to increase global demand for Australian Merino wool is based on providing companies with knowledge about Merino, innovation in developing exciting new products and marketing tools and solutions to help partners successfully launch and sell their products. "The delegation was informed how AWI can provide business partners with knowledge of the fundamental properties of the Merino fibre," says Alex Lai, AWI's technical services and sourcing manager. "Technical knowledge, such as how to dye, spin and finish; where to source fibre, yarn, garments and knowledge of how to enhance wool's properties by making it easy-care, softer or flame-retardant. "The Hong Kong knitters also heard how we can provide help in developing innovative new products that retailers like to sell and consumers want to buy. In addition, the delegates heard how we can also help retailers and brands to successfully communicate to the consumer through the development of product brand names, hang tags, point of sale display information and public relations." During the week-long stay, the delegation was provided with an understanding and appreciation of the Australian wool pipeline during visits to the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX), the Riverina Wool Combing mill in Wagga Wagga, the Falkiner Memorial Field Station in Deniliquin, the Australian Wool Testing Authority's (AWTA) greasy testing, Melbourne Wool Auctions, CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology in Geelong and the International Fibre Centre at Deakin University. "This tour was another example of how AWI makes itself available to smooth the progress of meetings between visitors from overseas textile manufacturers and the Australian Merino wool industry," Mr Lai says. ú More information: Alex Lai, 02 9299 5155, email@example.com Hong Kong knitters meet the Aussie Merino A delegation from the global hub of wool garments is given a face-to-face look at the Australian Merino wool industry and its innovative new products Supply chain links in China Links in the global wool supply chain were further strengthened when AWI hosted a technology transfer seminar in Hong Kong to introduce knitters to lightweight, soft-handle wool/PVA-blend fabrics, quick-dry fabrics and colour clear/super white Merino products. Following on from an earlier Merino knitwear workshop for Hong Kong-based knitters to lift the profile of Merino wool, AWI felt more specific information on the processing technology would improve uptake of new fibre developments. Timothy Iu, AWI's director of product marketing in Hong Kong, says that to many people in the knitwear industry, Merino wool has always been highly respected but its profile has not been raised for some time. "While there is still interest, it has been a good time to bring it back to the market and introduce innovations in Merino fibre while building a deeper relationship between AWI and the industry," he says. "After the basic introduction at the knitwear workshop last September, people wanted to learn more and understand how the technology fits their needs.The feedback we received was that the workshop was ideal for them to gain this understanding." After the seminar in Hong Kong, a demonstration was held at three mills in China's Guangdong province. At the mills -- the Hwada Woollen Group, Fung Fat Knitting Mfy Ltd and the Sandex mill -- textile industry specialists joined with AWI and CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology representatives to follow the process of creating wool/PVA-blend fabrics, quick-dry garment and color clear fibre. CSIRO Textiles has been trialling the technology for AWI. Mr Iu says to ensure that the technology is fully utilised, the education of designers and garment manufacturers is critical: "Benefits need to be demonstrated so demand is generated.The implementation of technology requires close cooperation between spinners, knitters and garment manufacturers, who can develop products which fully utilise it." In mid-December, 100 industry representatives were introduced to the technology at a larger-scale follow-up event in Guangdong province. -- KELLIE PENFOLD More information:Timothy Iu, firstname.lastname@example.org 16 TEXTILES BEYOND THE BALE "Benefits need to be demonstrated so demand is generated. The implementation of technology requires close cooperation between spinners, knitters and garment manufacturers, who can develop products which fully utilise it." -- TIMOTHY IU Learning more about the latest wool fabric technology at an AWI-organised technology transfer workshop.
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement
Dec 06 - Jan 07