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Beyond the Bale : June 2013
1818 off-farm June 2013 BEyond thE BalE Stand on any high street in the world and you will notice that a large majority of people are wearing casual clothes, irrespective of gender, age and nationality. This observation is backed up by studies showing there has been a global trend towards a more informal style of dressing over the past two decades. “Busy lifestyles and changing workplace fashions have reduced the need for consumers to have multiple wardrobes – and there is also an increasing desire for individualism,” AWI general manager of product development and commercialisation Mr Jackson explains. “Cotton has gained most from this trend, with new innovations that began with stone washed jeans and progressed to other visual effects.” Wool traditionally has been used in more formal products; so to enable wool to regain some of its market share from cotton and take advantage of the trend towards casualisation, AWI has worked closely with the manufacturing industry over the past few years to develop new processes that can provide unique, causal effects on wool. “A few years ago, AWI started a product development program called Merino Casual, with the aim of creating new manufacturing opportunities in the casual sector,” Mr Jackson said. “This was a tough challenge. In comparison to cotton, wool is a delicate fibre, so during manufacturing you cannot just start stone washing it, sandblasting it or throwing buckets of bleach at it. “However, we did indeed manage to create, using a range of dyeing and finishing techniques, a collection of Merino wool knitted and woven garments with distinguishing visual and textural effects. Ironically, the solution was to introduce ‘controlled’ faults – something that we had spent years successfully avoiding!” AWI’s technical teams in Asia subsequently worked to transfer the technology to the suppliers of some of these major retailers and brands. The apparel is now commercially available at retail. More information: www.woolmark.com/innovations fAst fActs l Apparel is now commercially available in store from brands that have used innovations developed by AWI’s ‘Merino Casual’ product development program. l this product development program was initiated to help wool take advantage of the global trend towards casual-style dressing. l As well as developing the technology, AWI works with supply chain partners to help transfer the technology to apparel brands. Wool gets casual Innovation: 3-D merino 3-D merino is an extra dimension for merino wool knitwear caused by milling or felting being limited to specific areas creating a subtle pattern. the felted and non-felted areas vary in thickness giving a 3-Dimensional aspect. Innovation: vintage merino faded and washed out effects are popular in casual garments. this can be achieved through garment dyeing and works for both worsted-spun and woollen- spun piece-dyed garments. each garment is unique within a defined range. Innovation: merino retract merino retract has contemporary boiled wool looks, but has the resilience and pilling performance of normal wool. Boiled wool is popular because it gives a casual look to garments and an alternative texture. Examples of commercially available merino Casual innovations Felted area Non- felted area