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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
We saw spinning, fabrics being made and the finished garments." The woolgrowers also visited the AWI office in Hong Kong where staff explained to the group the work that AWI does in the region: marketing, education and training, and product development. "The AWI staff were very down to earth and open with us about the challenges and opportunities for wool," Mrs Holland said. "They showed us examples of top- end fabric samples, new technological innovations and a range of beautiful garments, showcasing how versatile wool is. It was fabulous." After Hong Kong, the tour travelled to China where it visited large scourers and topmakers, and the SpinExpo trade show in Shanghai. "At the mills, we saw how the Chinese really need our high quality Australian wool to blend with poorer quality wool from other countries," Mrs Holland said. "We were very impressed with SpinExpo, with row upon row of exhibitors. The range of yarns, fabrics and knitwear was amazing, with a lot of new concepts and innovations." Mrs Holland also said she was impressed by the amount of wool being worn by the Chinese public. "There were a lot of Chinese business people wearing suits -- perfect for travelling between offices and going into and out of air conditioning. It was also interesting to see a lot of young Chinese girls wearing stylish woollen overcoats. "With education, the potential for wool in China is enormous. It was a privilege to visit such a beautiful country, travelling with an innovative group of people." More information: www.macwool.com.au Woolgrowers returning from a recent tour of the Hong Kong and Chinese wool industries say they are buoyed by the positives in the industry and the work being done by AWI in the region. "With China and Hong Kong processing such a high proportion of the Australian wool clip, we went on the tour because we were interested to see what the Chinese are doing with our wool," said woolgrower Penny Holland who with her husband John and son Oliver, run 'Uungula' at Wellington, NSW. "By the conclusion of the tour I was very impressed with the Chinese attitude towards our wool, and I feel very encouraged by the diversity of product they are using it for." Penny and John were two of 16 woolgrowers from the Central West and Southern Tablelands of NSW, and four staff members from Macdonald & Co Woolbrokers, who went on the tour organised by the Dubbo-based wool brokers. This was the first time that Don Macdonald has led woolgrowers on an overseas tour. He said the woolgrowers were very interested in all parts of the wool pipeline from scouring through to garment manufacture. "The woolgrowers went there with an open mind, but were very encouraged by what they saw," he said. "We started off in Hong Kong where, with AWI's help, we visited L Plus H -- a company producing mainly knitted sweaters, to a high standard. This is a smaller, boutique type enterprise, which allowed the woolgrowers more hands on time with the staff. "There was great craftsmanship and care by the staff in making attractive knitwear. The woolgrowers were excited to see the staff had the same passion for the fibre as the woolgrowers themselves." Mrs Holland, who has a background and interest in tailoring, said the woolgrowers were shown the whole production process from the dyeing stage through spinning to knitting. "The knitting was done by state-of-the- art machines, but the knitwear was linked, stitched and inspected by hand. The hand work was very impressive. They produce a variety of beautiful garments, and the staff seemed very happy in their work." The woolgrowers then visited the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which Mr Macdonald said opened the woolgrowers' eyes to the amount of expertise and equipment that goes into educating young fashion designers. "It was so inspiring," Mrs Holland said. "The young people are very creative and enthusiastic about what they are doing. Woolgrowers inspecting wool products produced at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 16 OFF-FARM FAST FACTS l Woolgrowers visiting the Hong Kong and Chinese wool industries have been impressed by the positive Chinese attitude towards Australian wool. l The woolgrowers also said they were impressed with the work being done by AWI in the region. l As the gateway for southern and eastern Chinese wool processors and manufacturers, Hong Kong is one of the world's major knitwear exporters and a global hub for sourcing wool garments particularly for the major US and European brands. June BEYOND THE BALE Hong Kong and Chinese wool industries inspire