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Beyond the Bale : Aug - Sep 08
22 fashion beyond the bale Deluxe Merino designs for city-slicker hand-knitters by Kellie Penfold W hen Jo Nathan’s first knitting pattern book, ‘She Knits’, published by the Australian Country Spinners label Cleckheaton, hit the shops in early winter the most curious piece of feedback came from a shop assistant who said “it’s nice to see knits which don’t look like they’ve come straight from the farm”. It gave Jo a laugh, as she lives on a farm at Deniliquin, in southern NSW, and she took it as a compliment that as a textile designer she was creating some city-style funkiness. With the release of another pattern book, ‘Merino Deluxe DK’ (book 1287), this time for a different Australian Country Spinners label – Patons – it continues to be a certain sophistication that Jo has sought to harness. This time the designs – which use Merino Deluxe DK wool, spun from Australian Merino at Australian Country Spinners woollen mills in Wangaratta, Victoria – are aimed at the more experienced knitter prepared to invest time in creating garments that show wool at its best. They are classic, elegant, timeless designs aimed at the 25-to-40 age group. “The designs still had to be fashionable, but I wanted the wool to do the JaPaneSe CoMPany baCKS designer Jo nathan has created 16 sophisticated designs in the locally spun yarn Merino deluxe dK for a new knitting-pattern book aUStRalIan landCaRe in an australian first, a major Japanese apparel company, onward Kashiyama, has shown its backing for australian woolgrowers who can demonstrate their environmental management credentials. as part of its own commitment to the environment, onward will also donate a percentage of proceeds from the sale of its ‘australian Merino field’ collection, sold under the brands Gotairiku and J. Press, to australian Landcare Management (aLM), an environmental protection group devoted to managing australian land and soil, and to protecting the environment. With Elders Landcare support, the aLM Group has formed a partnership with aWi to pilot their environmental management system with woolgrowers in south australia and new south Wales. The aLM system neatly matches onward’s environmental policy goal of creating environmental management systems based on the iso 14001 standard, to continuously improve its environmental preservation activities and stop degradation of the environment. “our focus now is to work with regional natural resource management and industry organisations to provide landholders with the opportunity to participate in this important development,” says aLM Group CEo Tony Gleeson. “Given the mixed industry nature of australian farms, and our dependency on export markets, it is critical that we develop our green credentials on the basis of internationally recognised and nationally applicable whole-of-farm catchment-linked systems.” Yass ultra-fine woolgrowers John and Robyn ive believe the aLM system is most relevant and practical. The ives say they have no hesitation in recommending it to other landholders. “What we need now is support from natural resource management and industry organisations so that the aLM system is more widely implemented,” says Mr ive, who is an australian superfine Wool Growers’ association national councillor. “We also need arrangements to track product from participating landholders so that they might benefit from preferential access to emerging markets offering price premiums.” This is a demonstration that there is a demand from retailers for environmental a design from the new Paton’s knitting-pattern book by Deniliquin designer Jo nathan. talking,” Jo says. “It was just the most wonderful yarn to work with and I know knitters will appreciate its feel and look. It almost has a glow.” Jo says Australian Country Spinners are using the Merino Deluxe label to promote the quality of Australian Merino wool and have included information about wool processing in the new pattern book to promote the fact it is an all- Australian fibre. A lamb was also used for the photo shoot to pose with the model. Bred by the Farrant family, third-generation woolgrowers of ‘Calimo Station’, Deniliquin, Jo says the lamb helps connect the Merino industry with fashion. “The book is not just about marketing knitting patterns, it’s about promoting a great Australian product and telling the story of Australian Merino,” she says. A member of the Cleckheaton design team in the late 1990s, in recent years Jo has concentrated on her knitwear label, woolliwoolli, which creates modern pieces – including swimwear – that are sold in boutiques around the country. Designs from woolliwoolli have been exhibited in Hong Kong, Paris, London, Milan, Shanghai, New Delhi and around Australia. Jo has worked closely with AWI to showcase her designs and recently worked on knitwear designs for the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week collection showing from Friedrich Gray, the label of AWI Australian Protégé Ben Pollitt. “Even just watching the Protégé collection in Australia inspired me,” she says. “To see all those wonderful wool fabrics illustrated the versatility of wool. I plan to use much of that inspiration for pattern designing for next year.” More information:www.patons.biz;www.woolliwoolli.com ú PhoTo: RiC WaLLis credentials along the supply chain. it is a ‘win-win-win’ result for australian woolgrowers, retailers and consumers. aWi will look for opportunities for replicating the model with other retailers. aWi chief executive Craig Welsh says that australian Merino is the perfect fibre for partners such as onward Kashiyama, to reinforce their brand’s eco credentials and provide customers with a natural choice for their apparel textiles. “australian Merino is a sustainable resource, based as it is on the simple conversion of sunlight, water, soil nutrients and green grass into a soft natural fibre,” Mr Welsh says. “i applaud the initiative of the partners in this collection and encourage the efforts of textile manufacturers and retailers to develop products that take advantage of wool’s inherent characteristics and further expand wool’s market share.” onward Kashiyama will donate a percentage of proceeds from the sale of its australian Merino field collection to australian Landcare Management. ú
Jun - July 08
Oct - Nov 08