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Beyond the Bale : Dec - Jan 08
By Kellie Penfold The fact that wool fabric is quiet has never been included in AWI's sales pitch before, but it could be a factor in moving more Australian Merino wool into the multi-billion-dollar hunting and fishing apparel industry. AWI and CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology have partnered on a project to create CamoMERINO -- an innovative way of applying high-resolution camouflage effects to polyester/wool fabrics. According to estimates, US fishermen and hunters spend more than US$70 billion in pursuit of their sport each year, and of this some US$4 billion is spent on hunting attire. AWI's US office felt that the properties of wool, especially the lack of noise made when the wearer is moving, would make it ideal for this market, where wool jackets, trousers and next-to-skin wear are already available, but only in solid colours and basic camouflage patterns. Using licensed prints from US company Mossy Oak, the project developed one woven fabric -- 25 per cent 19 micron wool / 75 per cent polyester -- and a knit fabric, which is 45 per cent 18 micron wool / 55 per cent polyester. The Australian researchers then modified the traditional transfer process used to print onto non-wool fabrics so that it would deliver the same high-resolution images on fabrics containing wool. In the transfer process the design is printed on paper using inks containing disperse dyes. In the case of a woven fabric the finished fabric has the wool component dyed first, the transfer print is then applied in a high-temperature process and then a water-repellent nanotechnology treatment is applied to finish the process. The final garments are also machine-washable -- a quality that is essential for the modern consumer. AWI's US office is now forming relationships with hunting-attire manufacturers and retailers to foster the development of wool fabric for this market. The potential is large: wool is ideal for this kind of clothing because it is comfortable to wear, shower repellent and relatively quick drying. The development of the printing technology could have other applications and AWI is now exploring the potential for women's fashion wear. Researchers are also looking at ways to increase the wool content in CamoMERINO without diminishing the quality of the print. ú More information: Cathr yn Lee, AWI senior project officer, firstname.lastname@example.org Science delivers silent appeal for hunters A new method of printing high-resolution camouflage images onto wool, developed by CSIRO, is moving Merino into the lucrative US hunting and fishing apparel market In 1907, an entrepreneurial Polish immigrant by the name of Joseph Cohen established Berkeley Apparel after receiving his training as a tailor in London's West End. His philosophy of quality and style still resonates throughout the company and its products, as does his entrepreneurial spirit. With the volume increasing each year, Berkeley Apparel distributes about 100,000 suits a year in Australia and New Zealand under the brands Studio Italia Deluxe (exclusive to David Jones), Studio Italia Emerald, Studio Italia Black Label, Studio Express (exclusive to Man to Man), Marc Coleman, Kenneth Blake and New England. Ninety-five per cent of suits are made from 100 per cent Australian Merino wool with a micron of between 18 and 19, and weight per running metre of about 260 grams. Prunel weaves or twill weaves are used due to increased performance. With the launch this month of Studio Italia's latest suit innovation, the Money Market SuitTM, the message is clear: luxury is no longer the domain of the rich.The collection of 'Super 100's' fabrics -- which impart excellent handle -- in the finest 18 micron Australian Merino wool, offers high quality and design at a moderate cost. Super 100's is a term defined under the International Wool Textile Organisation's (IWTO) Code of Practice to describe a pure-wool, woven fabric in which the mean diameter of the fibre is less than 18.75 micrometers (microns). The quality of wool fabric, particularly in its handle or feel, is largely determined by the fineness of the wool used in its manufacture. The Money Market SuitTM is classically tailored to suit the formal requirements of the executive, but works well with more adventurous shirts and ties to add a touch of individualism. Some of the more traditional features include the hand- picked edges, timeless chalk stripe and the offer of an optional vest, which is experiencing a fashion revival. Versatility is key, as dressing for all occasions has become extremely important in this time-poor world where the business suit is also required to be suitable for 'lounge wear' and social events. Comfort is also an important factor for the suit -- Studio Italia has acknowledged the importance of comfort in today's hectic and often stressful work environments. Shoulders have been narrowed, for comfort, and the two- button, single-breasted jacket with side vents accentuates a more modern athletic waistline culminating in a clean continuous line. There is more shape in the sleeve head with more shallow armholes for maximum rotation and comfort. Pants are flat-front with a slightly lower rise, narrower to the knee and no cuff. "The Money Market Suit is targeted at Generation X-ers who have the money to spend, but want products that are in sync with their lifestyle," says Robert Morris, marketing director of Berkeley Apparel. "They want suits that work for them, seven days a week, night and day. We wanted to launch a product that appeals to this technologically aware, discerning and fashion savvy consumer." AWI has been working with Berkeley Apparel over recent months, supplying them with market information on the Australian Merino fibre, consumer insights and global macro trends to help educate and inform store staff, retailers and customers. An advertising campaign has been launched to support the roll out in 200 Australian and 25 New Zealand speciality stores. ú More information: Berkeley Apparel, 1800 676 973, www.berkeleyapparel.com.au Luxury and lifestyle meet in the Money Market Suit Berkeley Apparel, an AWI fashion par tner, star ted making suits for Australian men 100 years ago -- today it remains a local market leader in Australian Merino wool suits 22 TEXTILES BEYOND THE BALE Australian Merino wool could soon take a slice of the lucrative US hunting and fishing apparel market.
Oct 07 - Nov 07
Feb - Mar 08 Supplement