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Beyond the Bale : December 2011
16 OFF-FARM December 2011 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l Fashion designers from Hong Kong that won Australia Study Tour Scholarships have visited Australia to be inspired to use Merino in their designs. l The designers learnt all about the wool supply chain, from the farm through first stage processing to fashion. l AWI aims to raise awareness of the natural benefits of Australian Merino wool among fashion designers worldwide. Australia's wool supply chain was showcased to a delegation of award winning fashion designers from Hong Kong visiting Australia in October. The designers' tour was the prize for winning Australia Study Tour Scholarships sponsored by AWI, the Flinders Merino woolgrower group from South Australia and 'Hamilton Run' of Jamestown, South Australia -- see page 12 of the September edition of Beyond the Bale. The aim of the tour was to educate the young designers about Australian wool, and inspire them to use more of the fibre in their designs. Equally however, the Aussie woolgrowers and companies that the designers visited were able to learn about the key market of Hong Kong and the thoughts of its young fashion designers. The designers' tour included visits to rural properties where Merino is grown; AWEX and AWTA; Michell Pty Ltd in Adelaide, one of Australia's largest exporters of Australian wool fibre and the largest carboniser of wool in the world; RMIT University's School of Fashion and Textiles; EMU Australia and the National Wool Museum. Visiting several woolgrowing properties in South Australia, the designers were shown the sheep, farms and landscape that define this iconic industry. Not only did the designers gain an intimate knowledge of wool and its production, the hospitality provided to them and the glimpse into woolgrowers' lifestyle impressed them enormously. Jean Chan from Hong Kong Polytechnic who won an award sponsored by Flinders Merino said she found the trip very inspiring. "This trip offered a very valuable experience to me, be it learning new knowledge about woolgrowers in the Flinders or meeting new people. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Without the support of AWI I would have never had the chance to visit the Flinders Ranges, to see this massive open space and to meet Supply chain showcased "THE MORE TIME AND EFFORT SPENT ON EDUCATION AND PROMOTION WILL BE PAID BACK TO THE WOOL INDUSTRY MANY TIMES OVER." PHILIP JEFFRIES, AWEX Woolgrower John Parnell and AWI's Alex Lai look on as Michell's Marketing Manager Michael Blake explains the types of wool to the Hong Kong designers