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Beyond the Bale : March 2014
From shed to chic inspired by the architecture, the work clothes and the human values of the shed to create a level of sensibility towards and celebration of the culture of the Australian wool producer." The 20-piece collection for both men and women is made, of course, mainly from wool. She has investigated the use of the fibre in her collection by using different wool fabrics, wool felting, and Whole Garment Technology® knitting which is a way of digitally producing seamless knitted garments. She also spent time scavenging the family farm for metal objects which she uses to hand dye fabrics through the process of rusting as well as using hardware from shearing gear to accessorise her collection. Ms Gibbs showed her collection at the Curtin University Fashion Graduate Show in December along with 20 other graduating designers. At the show, Ms Gibbs won both the Sericin Silk Design Award and the Fashion HUB Knitwear Design Award. While farming and fashion might sometimes seem poles apart, Ms Gibbs understands only too well the connection between woolgrowers and fashion designers. "I find in many cases designers don't understand the importance, the history and the lifestyle of wool production. And on the flip side, many farmers don't understand where their product goes. It can be a huge difference in understanding in what is ultimately the same industry," she says. "So coming from a sheep farming background and now being a fashion designer, I sometimes feel as if I am between two extremes. But the thing that intrigues me more than anything, is the unmistakable link farming and fashion have to one another -- the production of fibre for clothes. "I have decided to try to bridge this gap, by looking at a number of key signifiers from the farm, and translating them into contemporary fashion." Ms Gibbs has a passion for the natural aspects and benefits of wool, and aims to use wool long into her career. In 2014 she is studying honours at Curtin University and she says she will definitely be focused on the use of wool in fashion. Cordelia will be showcasing her collection to woolgrowers this year at Wagin Woolorama, Dowerin Field Day and Newdegate Field Day. More information: Cordelia Gibbs, email@example.com www.panacheinfashion.blogspot.com.au FAST FACTS l Young fashion designer Cordelia Gibbs' debut collection A Life in Wool is inspired by Australian woolgrowers and their shearing sheds. l The collection was designed predominantly from wool, using a range of technologies and wool fabrics. l Ms Gibbs was brought up on her parents' Merino stud in the regional town of Beverley in Western Australia and has carried her passion for wool and woolgrowing through into her fashion designs. Fashion designer Cordelia Gibbs modelling designs from her A Life in Wool collection: Weatherboard jacquard knit skirt, sheer wool imprint singlet, sheer wool stain singlet, accessorised with leather and cog shearing hardware neckpiece. The shearing shed might seem a world away from the glamour of the fashion catwalk, but recently graduated fashion designer Cordelia Gibbs has brought both settings together in her debut collection A Life in Wool. Brought up on her parents' woolgrowing property in the regional town of Beverley, Western Australia, her family background in wool has carried through into her designs. "My designs in this collection are an encapsulation of the character of the shearing shed," she says. "In a nation that rides on the sheep's back, the shearing shed is an iconic representation of Australia's journey. The garments are March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE 23 OFF-FARM