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Beyond the Bale : June 2012
10 OFF-FARM June 2012 BEYOND THE BALE Acclaimed by delegates as the best attended and most instructive International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) Congress in recent years, woolgrowers and processors from around the world heard retailers at the leading edge of New York fashion and lifestyle pay tribute to wool as a natural and renewable component of the downstream industry's sustainable agenda. The presentation of the 2012 Fashion + Retail Market Report "What's Working Now and Why" by AWI and the influential Women's Wear Daily (WWD) provided insight into future market opportunities for wool in the US. Over 300 delegates attended the presentation including 100 retailers such as DKNY, Polo Ralph Lauren and Gap Inc. Mr Ed Nardoza, Editor-in-Chief of WWD said: "WWD is proud to host the 2012 Fashion + Retail Market Report along with The Woolmark Company. We look forward to sharing United States market insights into the retail, apparel and media industries with this powerful global audience." Retailers and designers noted that many consumers with more than average disposable income were increasingly able to make an ethical choice, and choose wool FAST FACTS l A highlight of the IWTO Congress in New York was the presentation by AWI and Women's Wear Daily of a fashion and retail report. lThe report provided insights into future opportunities in the US market. l An emphasis was placed by retailer and designer speakers on the opportunities for wool as a natural and renewable fibre. IWTO: Wool in NYC Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President Fashion Office and Store Presentation, Bergdorf Goodman speaks at the IWTO Congress. as part of a commitment to environmental excellence. As well as presenting at the 2012 Fashion + Retail Market Report event, AWI also presented at the IWTO Congress on topics including: studies showing how people sleep better with wool, the success of the Campaign for Wool, the Woolmark Apparel Care program, AWI's Mothers and Babies program, and new technology being used to build the profile of the Woolmark brand. Peter Ackroyd, President of IWTO, commented on the Congress: "It was pleasing to hear so many upbeat and optimistic presentations about the return of wool in floor coverings, furnishings and fashion. Several keynote speakers at the Congress underlined the absolute necessity to embrace social media and networking to pass on wool's unrivalled message to younger consumers." The Loro Piana Challenge Cup has again been awarded to an Australian woolgrower, having produced the finest wool bale in 2011. The Australian Highlander Ultrafine Farm in Tumbarumba NSW, owned by Suzanne Triplett, has won the prestigious award for a second time. The 11.1 micron bale has set a new record for the finest wool bale ever produced in Australia. Every year, Loro Piana engages Australia and New Zealand woolgrowers in the Challenge, involving a jury formed by the Presidents of the Australian Superfine Wool Growers' Association and the Director of the New Zealand Stud Merino Breeders Society, who are called upon to judge certified bales of wool that must comply with specific weight, length and strength standards. The award ceremony took place in New York, where Loro Piana hosted an exclusive dinner to honour the commitment and professionalism of Australian and New Zealand woolgrowers, who constantly work to improve Merino wool. "This award goes to the professionalism, to the skills and the passion so typical of these farms. Thanks to their constant efforts, the wool industry can count on quality and fineness, which was unconceivable ten years ago. It is indeed two microns lower compared to those days," said Pier Luigi Loro Piana, CEO of the Loro Piana Group. Woolgrower Suzanne Triplett is congratulated by Pier Luigi Loro Piana, CEO of the Loro Piana group, during the award ceremony in New York. Record 11.1 micron Merino wool wins