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Beyond the Bale : Apr - May 08
16 OUTDOORS BEYONDTHE BALE Wool continues its outdoor climb New product technologies launched by AWl at January's 'Outdoor Retailer' were well received by this increasingly important market sector By Rebecca Thyer M erino products that moisturise the skin, are extra light, quick drying or offer superior wind and water resistance were launched to the world's leading outdoor retailers and buyers in January at 'Outdoor Retailer: the outdoor industry business-to-business trade event. AWl launched 15 new product technologies at the event held in Salt Lake City, including its new Merino Active range of Classic, Ultimate, and Performance products, its Moisturizing Merino range, plus the Nu-Yarn technology. AWl global sports and activewear manager Mark Brooks says the products that attracted the most attention were: o Merino Element WWB - a new concept for a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric; o Merino Seamless; o Ultra-light Merino; o Natural Easy Care (NEC) Woven; and o Cold Water Wash ick Dry (CWWQD) lines. "This is because these AWl products and technologies are most applicable to the outdoor market. Whether you're a high-end sports person or a keen weekend walker, they offer great benefits;' Mr Brooks says. Merino Element WWB is a new concept. Mr Brooks says there is nothing like it in the market and it will sit alongside performance products such as Gore (which makes Gore-tex@). Waterproof, windproof and breathable, Merino Element WWB is intended to protect against weather extremes by combining a new inner wool coating with a Merino wool outer shell. Merino Seamless, another well-received line, brings together hosiery and knitting technology. Machines can now create garments from a single line of thread, in one continuous piece, which is not only more comfortable (an important consideration for the outdoor market) but its production method also removes the need for patterns, cut- outs and sewn side seams. This reduces manufacture costs by about 20 per cent when compared to conventional garment- making techniques. Ultra-light Merino was developed to meet the demand for lightweight, comfortable, durable and temperature- controlled garments that are also suitable for next-to-skin applications, Mr Brooks says. Ultra-light Merino uses a special spinning process that blends Merino fibres with up to 30 per cent water-soluble plastic fibres. These plastic fibres are washed out post knitting or weaving, resulting in fabric that is 30 per cent lighter, yet retains its durability and structure. Mr Brooks says the NEC and CWWQD lines offer "on- the-move benefits" for the wearer: "Because they are easy- care and quick-drying you can just throw them in your bag and keep going, making them well suited to people engaged in sporting and outdoor pursuits." Mr Brooks says all of AWl's innovations were well received. Two-thirds of senior managers, buyers, technologists and marketers who attended a seminar he presented on the benefits of Australian Merino said they would be keen to take advantage of the new product technologies launched by AWl. ''All of the seminar attendees requested more information and wanted to be invited to future seminars and events;' he says. AWl representatives met with more than 240 companies at Outdoor Retailer, 45 of which are new American and Asian customers and require specific follow-up. Key companies that visited the AWl stand included Nike, New Balance, Ibex, SmartWool, The North Face, Columbia Sportswear, Cloudveil, Memteks, Gibor Sport and Panache Cyclewear. "Outdoor Retailer is the biggest event in the outdoor industry;' Mr Brooks says. ''And Merino is the premier natural fibre for that market. The event provides AWl with an opportunity to present manufacturers, retailers, and industry advocates with innovative Australian Merino product and solutions for the outdoor active market." 0 More information: www.outdoorretailer.com; www.merinoinnovation.com SURVEY RESULTS A survey was conducted with all seminar attendants and the results were: o 67 per cent said they would use between one and five of the products presented in the future; o 85 per cent said the seminar was very relevant to their business; o 57 per cent said the Merino Active symbol was very relevant to their business; o 100 per cent requested further information; and o 100 per cent requested to be invited to future AWl seminars and events. NEW TECHNOLOGIES The Merino Active range is designed for active people seeking a performance product and offers natural quality, durability, breathability, moisture absorption and elasticity. Moisturizing Merino is part of a new range of cosmetic textiles and contains added moisturisers - such as aloe vera, squalane (an olive oil derivative), vitamin E, Monoi de Tahiti (extract of the Tahitian Tiare flower) and passion fruit oil - that are released during wear to enhance comfort. A new method for producing fine Australian Merino yarns was also launched. Called Nu- Yarn, the result is a high-tenacity, open-structured yarn. Fabrics made from Nu-Yarn offer comfort, softness and high bulk, resistance to wind penetration and are quick drying. An ideal product for the outdoor apparel market, Nu- Yarn can be used in a wide range of end products, from socks to bodywear and outer garments. WOOL ADDS STYLE TO THE OLYMPIC STAGE Merino wool is on its way to the Beijing Olympics, on the backs of the Australian Olympic team. The Australian team uniform, designed by Australian company Sportscraft, features fine wool suiting for both men and women. Sourcing the fabric from Italian manufacturers Marlane, Sportscraft general manager Sonia Wong says the fabrics had to be functional and comfortable, given the humid weather expected in Beijing in August. Vice-president of the Australian Olympic Committee Peter Montgomery applauded the uniform, which will be worn at the official flag-raising ceremony in the Olympic Village and the team reception the day before the Games begin on 8 August. It will also be worn to other official functions during the 17 days of competition.
Feb - Mar 08
Jun - Jul 08 Supplement