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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
EASTERN HEMISPHERE • Merino wool had a high profile at Shanghai Fashion Week in October 2017, with AWI launching its inaugural Woolmark Studio to highlight the versatility of Australian Merino wool to the Chinese textile trade and media. The three-day-long AWI initiative gave visitors an up-close-and-personal look at the Australian Merino wool fibre, aiming to inspire, educate and connect the textile supply chain. The theme of this edition of Woolmark Studio was the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize; a series of workshops and panel discussions were also held involving stakeholders from across the wool supply chain in China. The second Woolmark Studio was held at Shanghai Fashion Week in March 2018, with the theme this time around being ‘Sustainability in Fashion’. • AWI partnered with high-profile Chinese publication T Magazine to showcase to modern and cosmopolitan Chinese women the latest wool- rich autumn/winter collections from leading brands. Under the theme ‘Naturally Inspiring’, a photo series in the magazine featured actresses Jiang Mengjie and Xin Zhilei, as well as fashion blogger Cheng Xiaoyue, wearing the latest Merino wool looks from well-known Chinese fashion brands. The photographs formed part of the China Wool Week campaign, an in-store initiative by AWI that ran in November 2017. Throughout the week, all 800+ outlets of the nine brands across China promoted the benefits and beauty of the Merino wool fibre through retail displays, social media and in-store promotions. • Leading Chinese eco-luxury brand and Woolmark licensee ICICLE used imagery and stories from Australian wool-growing properties to help market its 12-piece womenswear collection, featuring a mix of garments including pants, tops, dresses and jackets made using quilted wool denim and the hugely popular OptimTM Protect fabric. More than 55,000 items of clothing were available across more than 220 stores and online, with strong sales recorded. AWI also collaborated with Instyle China for the magazine’s sustainability issue. Shot at Belgenny Farm in Camden, NSW, the stunning photo series featured famous Chinese actress Jiang Shuying, who wore six Merino wool looks from ICICLE’s latest collection, with one of the images gracing the magazine’s cover. ICICLE’s marketing team was filmed during a live-cross to China, providing consumers there with a glimpse of life on an Australian wool-growing property. Famous model-actress Coco Chiang leads out models, all wearing Australian Merino wool cheongsams, at the Hong Kong Knitwear Symphony trade event. • AWI partnered with emerging Hong Kong-based fashion label Yi-ming to create a series of Merino wool cheongsams. A cheongsam, or qípáo, is a form of stylish traditional dress, usually made from silk, first made fashionable by socialites and upper- class women. By taking part in the collaboration, AWI aims to build demand for Australian wool in the premium cheongsam market – a new market for wool that has not traditionally used a lot of the fibre. • To broaden the demand for Merino wool, AWI showcased the fibre in an artistic and innovative way in March 2018 in Hong Kong, with 300 fashion industry and media guests attending a dance presentation with the performers wearing Merino wool pieces. Merino Landscapes brought together three emerging fashion designers from Asia who had been finalists in the International Woolmark Prize and 16 Australian Merino wool outfits. • AWI built on the previous year’s successful partnership with leading Chinese fashion brand Comme Moi, founded by Chinese supermodel and fashion designer Lu Yan, to help launch the brand’s new collection that features apparel made from lightweight Cool Wool fabrics. The five-piece Cool Wool collection formed part of a larger wool-rich main line for the autumn/winter season. • AWI entered a two-year strategic partnership with globally renowned Chinese luxury department store Lane Crawford, to bring forward-thinking designs made from Australian Merino wool direct to consumers. The first two collections in the collaboration were athleisure collections, launched in July 2017 with Chinese fashion designer Helen Lee and activewear brand Particle Fever. • In a series of initiatives that began in 2017/18, AWI is marking more than half a century of wool trade between Australia and China. By not only looking back at China’s astonishing growth, but more importantly looking to the future, AWI aims to secure Merino wool’s position as the fibre of choice for China’s burgeoning middle class and thereby increase awareness and demand for the fibre. • Popular celebrity and singer from Hong Kong, Denise Ho, visited the Wool Resource Centre for a cover story with Lifestyle Journal in which she showcased the latest luxury wool-rich winter outfits from Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Céline, highlighting the natural beauty of Merino wool. 14 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – MARKETING
AWI Annual Report 2016-17