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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
The winners of the 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize (from left): two models of the Innovation Award winner; two models of the womenswear winner, womenswear winner Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice (India), Innovation Award winner Christopher Bevans of DYNE (USA); menswear winner Matthew Miller (Britain); two models of the menswear winner. • Following the success of the 2016/17 global final in Paris, the 2017/18 final once again combined menswear and womenswear into one star-studded event. It was held in January in Florence, Italy, on the first day of the Pitti Uomo trade show, with the two global winners announced in front of key industry heavyweights. • Matthew Miller from Britain was the winner of the menswear competition for 2017/18. Using Australian Merino wool ranging from 17.5 to 20.5 microns, Miller added multifunctional elements to his designs for different environments, such as the addition of a garment belt system which acts as a way to turn the garment into an accessory in warmer climates. He also included innovative treatments to create, for example, water resistant fabrics. • Bodice from India won the womenswear award for 2017/18 and was praised for its technique and manufacturing process. Collaborating with hand weavers and encouraging them to take an unorthodox approach to traditional techniques, Bodice produced an elegant collection honouring both Australian Merino wool and the artisans of India. Bodice also worked with Bio-Dye in Sawantwadi, central India, which makes all its colours from natural sources. • The 2017/18 International Woolmark Prize also held its inaugural Innovation Award, powered by Future Tech Lab, to reward the collection with the most innovative and creative wool fabrication, process or development. This award aims to inspire the competition’s designers to be more experimental when developing fabric or yarn for their final collections. • Inspired by learning to snowboard in the 1980s – in a wool bomber jacket – the 2017/18 winning Innovation Award collection of DYNE’s Christopher Bevans comprises a technical snowboarding wardrobe, complete with an ‘NFC chip’ in the water-resistant wool jacket to track users in avalanches. The collection is crafted from Merino wool ranging between 17 and 19.5 microns, and includes zip-up hoodies, track pants, trench coats and pullovers – with reflective overlays and inserts, functional pocket zips, laser-cut details and two-way stretch. • As well as winning prize money to help support the development of their businesses, both Matthew Miller and Bodice also received ongoing industry mentor support, Woolmark certification for their winning collections and the opportunity to be stocked in prestigious department stores and boutiques. These include: Boutique 1, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, LECLAIREUR, mytheresa.com, Parlour X, Sugar and Takashimaya. • At the trade level, the competition in 2017/18 attracted a high calibre of supporters from nominating bodies including the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as well as retailers. The Trade Partnership Program continued in 2017/18 to connect promising designers with the best spinners and weavers specialising in wool. • At the jury level, there was engagement with some of the world’s leading influencers of fashion, such as Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief Emanuele Farneti and fashion designer Phillip Lim – who were judges in 2017/18 – and who donate their time at no cost and all of whom not only have a shared and stated interest in the development of new talent and new markets, but also help attract enormous media attention worldwide to expose the innovative nature and versatility of Australian wool. • The International Woolmark Prize imbues the participating designers with a long-term knowledge and love of wool that continues throughout their professional lives, as shown in some their latest collections on show at fashion weeks across the world. For example, International Woolmark Prize alumnus Blair Archibald from Melbourne presented his first runway collection at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Australia in March. The wool-rich collection received significant press attention and orders from high-profile buyers – a huge feat for such a new designer. REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – MARKETING 21
AWI Annual Report 2016-17