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Beyond the Bale : December 2011
December 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 9 OFF-FARM Lab" -- AWI's new seasonal guide to the best wool fabrics and yarns in the world -- where designers underwent training in the versatility of Merino wool. The Wool Lab contains over 500 carefully selected yarns and fabrics from 60 elite manufacturing partners in the UK, Japan, Italy and China from which the designers can select materials and begin creating their own branded collections. Each Merino collection produced by the Chinese designers will be modelled in the documentary series by well-known Chinese women notable for their success across a range of industries including business, journalism, media and fashion. General Manager and Chief Designer of the Eachway brand Ms Zhao Hui Zhou said she found the tour very inspiring and informative. "From this campaign tour I have got a much more in-depth understanding of Australian Merino wool, the story, the quality and the heritage behind this wonderful fibre, which will benefit a brand like ours a lot," Ms Zhou said. "I believe the story behind the Merino fibre will be very attractive for Chinese luxury brands and the expanding number of sophisticated Chinese consumers. The 10-day tour in Australia was really exciting and inspirational. We learned how the Merino sheep grow and are cared for by Australian farmers, the beautiful natural scenery, the harmonious atmosphere, and the care for the environment. "Merino is such an amazing natural fibre. It inspired me a lot through the beautiful scenery, the peaceful lifestyle, even small details of the natural colours mixed together, all these give me much inspiration for my design. Also the sincere and genuine attitude from growers impressed me a lot -- which gives me inspiration for my future work." Whilst travelling in Australia the designers blogged about their experience, uploading photographs and film footage about all they were learning. The television documentary will be launched in China this month. The designers' collections will also be made available in the stores of participating brand partners this month, in time for the peak selling season leading up to Chinese New Year in late January. Additionally AWI is creating a 'pop-up store' in Shanghai in which consumers can buy the products of all the brand partners. General Manager and Chief Designer of the Eachway brand Ms Zhao Hui Zhou (with AWI Chairman Wal Merriman). AWI's new seasonal guide to the best wool fabrics and yarns -- "The Wool Lab" -- being showcased to the Chinese designers by Fabrizio Servente of AWI. l China is the world's second largest luxury market. Consuming 27.5% of global luxury purchases, the country is forecast to be the largest luxury market in the world by 2015. l According to McKinsey & Co, in 2010 Chinese consumers spent $15 billion on luxury products. Female purchases accounted for 50% of this. Growth in women's luxury spending increased by 22% between 2008 and 2010, whereas male spending increased only by 10%. l China is home to eleven of the world's 20 richest self-made women. l China has 153 female yuan billionaires (around $150 million). l Female college graduates in China are more motivated than their Western counterparts to seek management positions: 76% of Chinese female graduates say they aspire to management positions, while only 52% of U.S. female graduates say the same. China's growing luxury market