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Beyond the Bale : Dec - Jan 08
Jayson Brunsdon launched his spring/summer 2008 collection during New York Fashion Week, at Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue in September. An ambassador for Australian Merino wool for nearly two years, Jayson is an industry leader with his showcase of innovative, woven Australian Merino wool fabrics, which are now recognised worldwide. Jayson saw rapid growth of his label in the US market during 2006. It is stocked in more than 20 US states and by Saks Fifth Avenue and specialty department store Neiman Marcus. The impact that Jayson's collection is having in the US is highlighted by his appearance on the cover of Women's Wear Daily, the worldwide fashion and trade publication, in August. Jayson's collection takes its lead from China to create graphic colours, prints and shapes that reflect the influence modern China is having on global culture. "Colours inspired by Chinese art and cinema evoke not only tradition but also the neon lights of Hong Kong," Jayson says. "I have designed a series of dresses and tops in a beautiful lightweight Merino wool jersey trimmed in silk charmeuse. "The dresses are to the calf, which is the new length, and can cross over from day to night, and the Merino is perfect in either spring or autumn because it breathes. The tops work beautifully with silk duchesse skirts and pants. Jayson Brunsdon hits New York The leading Australian fashion designer and ambassador for Australian Merino is making great headway in the US market 20 FASHION BEYOND THE BALE School's out for aspiring designer While her classmates thought of solar panels and recycling when it was suggested that their Higher School Certificate (HSC) class design and technology projects should focus on sustainability, Rowena Shannon took her inspiration from the paddock. The 17-year-old student who sat her HSC this year at Mittagong's Frensham School, in NSW's Southern Highlands, developed her own wool fashion label, 'Biop', complete with marketing campaign and garments as her major assessment task for the design and technology subject. Rowena's Biop label came from growing up on the family's Merino property run by her father Peter Shannon, and her interest in environmentally friendly fashion for 12 to 24- year-olds.The resulting Merino wool dress and bikini, and their marketing story, have been shortlisted for the HSC DesignTech exhibition, which will showcase the best of the design and technology work of the 2007 HSC at the Powerhouse Museum and other sites around the country in 2008. After researching the importance of the wool industry, both economically and environmentally, Rowena then developed a questionnaire for young women on their perceptions of wool garments. "I discovered that 87 per cent of women aged 12 to 25 who were interviewed perceived wool as big and bulky," Rowena says. "At the same time, 87 per cent also said they were happy to pay more for a garment if they knew it was long-lasting, and 67 per cent would rather buy Australian." From her research of fabric innovations, Rowena felt she could set about changing perceptions by sourcing lightweight, soft-handling wool fabric. "I'd focused my research on OptimTM wool fabric as an emerging technology and knew it was ideal," she says. "The challenge was to then find fabric when many of the manufacturers were offshore. At the last minute a parcel turned up from the Department of Agriculture and Food,Western Australia, containing some fabric they had trialled. It was ideal for the dress and I sourced an elastic/wool blend for the bikini in Bowral, which was good luck." Rowena's mother Wendy helped with garment construction and was amazed at the way it handled on the sewing machine. The 14 Frensham design and technology students displayed their projects in a weekend exhibition at the school, with four being selected for the DesignTech shortlist. "The emphasis was very much on sustainability and renewable resources.Wool is produced with minimal pollution creation and little energy use compared with other fibres, and is biodegradable and renewable, making it ideal for consumers with environmental concerns. "While it was only the tip of the iceberg, people were really impressed with the way the fabric handled and its versatility." -- KELLIE PENFOLD More information: Rowena Shannon, email@example.com "There is also a very light wool gauze that is styled into an easy peasant dress and a tunic dress that can be worn with a stretch, chintz-finish wool, slim-leg, ankle-cropped pant." Jayson was recently awarded Australian Eveningwear Designer of the Year 2007 by Harper's Bazaar magazine. ú More information: www.merinoinnovation.com; www.jaysonbrunsdon.com A young woman with a big commitment to Australian Merino: Mittagong's Rowena Shannon. PHOTO:TRISHA DIXON Jayson Brunsdon backstage at his New York Fashion Week show with Australia's hottest new export, model Catherine McNeil.
Oct 07 - Nov 07
Feb - Mar 08 Supplement