The Dawn of Dusk

Bob GarnantThe West Australian

WA-based fashion designer Azulant Akora will debut her "The Dawn of Dusk" wool garment collection at the WAFarmers conference dinner on February 19.

The 26-year-old was recently recognised at the 2015 Los Angeles Fashion Week Design Competition where her "Birds of Paradise" collection placed in the top 12 of all international finalists.

"Using Merino wool as a fabric, I am excited finally to introduce my designs here in Perth, particularly to the farming community," she said.

"I am experimenting more with wool and how it is so versatile. It is very durable but still so luxurious.

"While Paris has its silk and champagne, Australia should be the fashion authority on Merino wool.

"I will be very proud to showcase my superfine wool designs to WA's farmers next week.

WAFarmers marketing and events manager Megan McNeill said Akora was the likely choice to bring the best of Merino fashion design to the WAFarmers conference.

"Many of our members are Merino sheep producers and will be very proud to see how wool can step up in the fashion business," Ms McNeill said.

Akora's collection will include the black evening dress for which she was awarded first prize at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards in 2014.

"The dress was named after my sister, Isabelle, and features pure Merino wool suiting, with satin lining and lambs leather," Akora said.

Sensing the colours of Australia, Akora's red evening dress was highly commended at the 2013 wool awards, which put in motion her drive to succeed in such a tough business.

"My little seductive woollen red dress shows all the qualities of this wonderful fibre which sets it apart from synthetics."

She officially launched her label in September 2014 and has accumulated stockists along the way.

_Countryman _ introduced Akora to its readers in 2013 as an astute Edith Cowan University student of law.

"I am still working on my law degree, although the fashion world continues to lure me deeper into its grip," she said.

Akora lives through her de- sign sketches and after reali- sing the dream of those drawings coming to life and winning aw- ards, she is even more inspired to create.

In the lead-up to the WAFarmers conference, she was inspired to create a new design.

"Let us just say Little Bo Peep has found her sheep," she said.

"The nursery rhyme character's sheep have come home, been shorn, the wool has been marketed, exported and processed into woven fabric and I have been delighted to create a Little Bo Peep contour dress.

"Model Carla Iddon brought this character to life and she has never looked so good and conference visitors are sure to get a peep."

_Akora has in mind to also create a Merino collection for travell- ing - easy-to-wear lounge garments, and these will also be on parade. Plans are under way to open a fashion boutique and her ultimate goal is to qualify a collection into the International Woolmark Prize fashion awards. _

_More information on Akora is available at www.azulantakora .com. WAFarmers conference information and bookings at www.wafarmers.org.au _

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