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Beyond the Bale : March 2013
20 OFF-FARM March 2013 BEYOND THE BALE Lars Ulvesund a continuous feed of new innovations is crucial in this competitive and technical market sector. "We have seen this new Merino market grow significantly for the past five years, and based on what the leading brands exhibited at ISPO and the discussions we had with the designers, the outlook is very positive," Mr Ulvesund said. Matthias Boehme from Lavalan -- a manufacturer of new wool filling who exhibited at ISPO -- said the demand for the fibre was amazing. "For us, the past two months -- with ISPO being the peak -- has been overwhelming," Mr Boehme said. "The customer base and the volume for wool filling in jackets are going way beyond our expectations. "Wool is definitely the hot fibre in sports right now and we're glad to be here and take part." According to Mr Ulvesund, Merino wool is very much in focus amongst the more upmarket brands, for several reasons. "Functional performance is an obvious key in this product group; however provenance is gaining more and more attention," he said. "Brands see the value in being able to tell where the Merino wool is coming from, linking the fibre to its history and heritage. Natural and renewable properties are also becoming increasingly pertinent as consumers are becoming more concerned with eco- credentials." Once again AWI, in co-operation with ISPO organisers, arranged Wool Street: an FAST FACTS l AWI showcased its latest innovations in the sports and outdoor market at this year's influential ISPO trade show in Germany. l For the third year, AWI teamed up with ISPO organisers to co-ordinate Wool Street to provide a feast of outdoor Merino wool apparel. l The wool industry has seen a widespread uptake of next-to- skin apparel, with a majority of the world's leading outdoor brands incorporating Merino wool innovations into their collections. Merino scoring goals indoor boulevard flanked with trade stands from major outdoor apparel brands. For the third year Wool Street proved the place to be, with brands such as Devold, Dale, Aclima, Wool Power, Designer Textiles, Charles Parsons, Merino Solutions and others joining AWI to promote the latest and very best in wool. Building on the already comprehensive MerinoPerformTM range, AWI presented the latest commercial developments and highlighted fabrics and products which offer maximum innovation, comfort and performance. Four standout products AWI exhibited at ISPO were: MERINOPERFORMTM WOOL HIKING TROUSERS AND JACKETS IN WOVEN FABRICS One new area is woven performance fabrics, whereby Merino wool is making the difference through its built-in thermo regulating properties as well as its high- capacity breathability. This product offers flexibility and is suitable for a wide variety of climates. MERINOPERFORMTM WOOL FILL This new product has already generated a lot of interest and brings about exciting advantages to the outer-layer, such as a wool-filled ski jacket. Merino wool offers superior insulation, thermo- regulation and breathability, all of which work seamlessly together, providing comfort no matter the season. MERINOPERFORMTM SOFT AND HARD SHELL LININGS A soft or hard shell jacket lined with Merino wool - drop or bonded - stops the chill transportation and cleverly absorbs both vapour and condensation, creating a dry and comfortable insulating microclimate. OPTIMTM A unique woven fabric based on a process where the wool fibre is mechanically stretched and then consolidated. It involves a process that delivers an almost water and windproof 100 per cent wool fabric without the assistance of membranes or coatings and with maintained breathability and moisture management. AWI continues to cement its, and the Merino fibre's, presence in the sports and outdoor market, collaborating with leading manufacturers and brands to promote the natural benefits of wool as a performance fibre. This year's ISPO trade fair attracted 81,000 visitors from 109 countries -- an increase of four per cent compared with 2012. AWI was among 2481 exhibitors, all showcasing the latest technical advancements and providing a feast of the latest outdoor gear and fashion. Following a widespread uptake of Merino wool for next-to-skin products, a majority of the world's leading outdoor brands are now incorporating the latest innovations of Merino wool into their collections. And according to AWI Sports/Outdoor category manager AWI presented the latest innovations in Merino wool as a performance fibre at the recent ISPO trade exhibition.