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Beyond the Bale : Dec 06 - Jan 07
By Melissa Marino Two new Australian Merino wool products have taken centre stage at October's Intertextile Fabrics Fair in Shanghai, highlighting AWI's collaboration with key Chinese manufacturers. The launch of the two textile innovations -- Merino Travel and Merino Retro -- builds on the strong reputation Australian Merino wool products have established in the fast-growing Chinese market. Intertextile is one of the world's leading apparel textile trade fairs, providing buyers with an unsurpassed opportunity for sourcing, networking and information gathering. This year, Intertextile overtook Paris's Premier Vision as the biggest trade fair of its type, hosting 52,265 visitors, an increase of 15.8 per cent compared to 2005. Jimmy Jackson, AWI's regional manager Asia, says a high level of interest was shown in the two new Merino products, which fulfil the demands of Chinese and international buyers looking for style, comfort and durability. Merino Travel was created by AWI in partnership with the Ningbo Youngor Group -- one the of the largest fabric and suit manufacturers in China -- to meet the needs of China's growing business travel market. The lightweight fabric, created to withstand the rigours of travel, is crease-resistant and has natural stretch and anti-stain qualities. The development of Merino Retro -- a world-first textile with a special stonewash treatment technology to produce a fashionable washed-out look -- was created by China's largest worsted enterprise, the Jiangsu Sunshine Group, with AWI's assistance. Designed to appeal to today's trends, it provides a vintage look with the competitive edge of a modern fibre. Mr Jackson says both Chinese companies have reported positive feedback from Japanese and Western European retailers, and particularly strong interest from US buyers. Work will now be done in product development and, if successful, orders taken for the northern hemisphere in the new year to prepare for a launch on the retail market in September. "It's quite a radical move for the Chinese manufacturers who are used to producing traditional suit fabrics," he says. "They had not produced fabrics like this before and they were received better than they expected." Mr Jackson says it is very important for AWI to establish direct business relationships with key organisations such as Youngor and Sunshine in the Chinese marketplace as Shanghai emerges as an international fashion capital. "China is a constantly growing economy that purchases the majority of Australian wool," he says. "It is a hub for international brands to review products available and the quality today is astounding. To have AWI products at noted events such as Intertextile will assist AWI in achieving a higher demand for Australia Merino wool products." Jiangsu Sunshine Group produces 30 million metres of worsted fabrics, 20 million metres of woollen and cashmere fabrics and 1.5 million suits each year for the domestic and export markets. Youngor, a popular brand in China, has dominated the domestic market with its suits over the past three years. The 1.7 million suits it manufactures each year are sold in both domestic and international markets. Mr Jackson says the partnerships with Chinese manufacturers will provide important opportunities for Australian woolgrowers. "By working with Sunshine and Youngor we are able to offer buyers and manufacturers around the world Australian Merino wool alternatives which are high in quality, machine-washable, lightweight, durable and fashionable." ú More information: www.merinoinnovation.com Merino that travels, even back in time AWI has developed two new textile products, Merino Travel and Merino Retro, in collaboration with two of China's largest fabric manufacturers Australian wool on China's catwalks This year AWI lent its support to Fabrics China Creation, one of the most highly regarded professional competitions in the Chinese textile industry. The competitions are jointly organised by China Textile Information Centre, China Textiles Development Centre and China Fashion Colour Association. AWI's support for Fabrics China Creation aims to encourage innovation in the field of textile fabric and pattern design within the Chinese textile industry.The awards promote Australian Merino wool to those likely to be creating the next fashionable textile or the next catwalk-style garment. Jimmy Jackson, AWI's regional manager Asia, says the annual Fabrics China Creation serves as a platform not only for the communication between designers and producers, but also for contact between suppliers and buyers. More importantly, it opens a window for students who major in fabric and fashion design in textile universities and colleges to access the market and the textile industry, and in this context it serves as an incubator for fostering Chinese fabric designers. There are three categories for Fabrics China Creation based on different candidates: ú Applied Fabric -- apparel fabric that can be put into batch production, open to manufacturers; ú Creation Fabric -- concept or reproduced fabric that cannot be put into batch production for the moment, open to designers; and ú Pattern Design -- pattern designs that can be used for apparel and accessories, open to students and designers. There were 860 finalists selected from 2540 entrants, who included manufacturers, designers and students from 17 universities across China; the finalists paraded their pieces on October 24 before the Fabrics China Creation 2006 judging panel, which included Jimmy Jackson. "By supporting China Creation we are supporting a host of professionals that are interested in innovation within the Chinese textile and design industry," Mr Jackson says. "We are promoting the benefits of Australian Merino wool, ensuring all are aware of the versatility of the fibre." This year's winner of the Australian Merino Fashion Award was presented to Ms Li Lamei and Ms Meng Xia from Shandong Ruyi Group, who co-designed a Merino/linen/silk-blend fabric. Shandong Ruyi is one of China's major vertical wool textile mills, involved in processing, producing and designing as well as retailing wool textile products. It has a technology centre and postdoctorate work station, where it carries out research and development of wool textile products. Its 'Ruyi' brand worsted fabrics have more than 1000 varieties, and is a well-known trademark in China. Australian Merino wool had a strong presence among the finalists in other categories, including the Award for Applied Fabrics, where the gold medal went to Ms Yao Xiaoming and Ms Yuan Xichun from Jiangsu Xinming Textile Company for a fabric comprising 40 per cent wool, 47 per cent silk, and 13 per cent polyester. The silver medal for this award went to Ms Fu Aifeng from Jiangsu Danmao Textile Company, with a 95 per cent wool and five per cent cashmere fabric. During the Fabrics China Creation Catwalk show, AWI previewed a new Australian Merino wool range it had developed in partnership with leading polyester fabric maker, Haitian Textile Group. Alongside AWI, Fabrics China Creation was also supported by Dupont China, Haitian Textile and Lenzing Fibres. ú More information: www.fabricschinacreation.cn 15 FASHION BEYOND THE BALE Merino Retro is a world-first textile combining a vintage look with the versatility of a modern fibre.
Feb 07 - Mar 07