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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
14 OFF-FARM June 2014 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l AWI is reinforcing its major commitment to the wool processing, manufacturing and retail sectors in China. l AWI's presence at the China International Clothing & Accessories Fair in Beijing was its biggest to date. l Chinese consumers of premium products are increasingly astute and are demanding the greatest integrity and provenance, which plays to Australian wool's advantage given it is an enduring natural fibre grown by woolgrowers with a proud heritage. With more than 75 per cent of the Australian wool clip exported to China for processing, and around a third of this wool being consumed within the Chinese domestic market, AWI is reinforcing its dedication to the region to help grow demand for Australian wool even further. AWI's presence at this year's China International Clothing & Accessories Fair (CHIC) in Beijing was its biggest ever, reflecting the company's commitment to the Chinese market, government bodies and the ventures implemented by the China National Textile and Apparel Council. The Australian Ambassador to China, Her Excellency Ms Frances Adamson, officially opened AWI's stand at CHIC, accompanied by Honorary Chairman of China National Textile and Apparel Council Mr Du Yuzhou, and Deputy Director of China National Textile and Apparel Council Mr Zhang Yankai. Australian Merino wool has long been a key fibre for leading British and European menswear and womenswear brands, with those that sell into China, such as Gieves & Hawkes and Cerruti, often highlighting the central role of Australian Merino wool in their collections. But, as highlighted at CHIC, some major Chinese textile brands are also starting to tell the Australian Merino wool story -- its provenance and premium quality -- and are being rewarded for doing so. Towards the end of 2013, Youngor, one of the country's largest fashion retailers, ran a joint Australian Merino wool promotion with AWI, and by mid- January was reporting a 20 per cent increase in all wool sales in participating stores. "Not very long ago the premium and luxury garments market here was all about prestigious labels," explains AWI's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Rob Langtry. "But Chinese consumers are now showing a real interest in ingredient branding. That means not just the garment itself and the style of it, but the story behind it -- how the fabric is made, where the fibre comes from, and what makes it special. And when it comes to all those things, nobody has a better story to tell than Australian Merino wool." WOOLMARK GOLD AWI exhibited fabrics from the exclusive Woolmark Gold range, which made its debut in China last year, and has been described as the world's first international gold standard of fabric for fine tailoring. Gieves & Hawkes Product General Manager Charles Lassman gave a special speech at CHIC 2014 to explain how Gieves & Hawkes integrated Woolmark Gold fabric into its collections for Greater China markets. "The Chinese luxury and premium menswear customer has become very sophisticated over the past five years," Mr Lassman said. "We must ensure that we not only communicate the history of Gieves & Australian wool showcased in China Mr Rob Langtry, AWI Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer greets Mr Du Yuzhou, Honorary Chairman of China National Textile and Apparel Council; Her Excellency Ms Frances Adamson, Australian Ambassador to China; and Mr Zhang Yankai, Deputy Director of China National Textile and Apparel Council. AWI's presence at this year's China International Clothing & Accessories Fair in Beijing including a 318m2 stand promoting Australian wool.