Royal leg up for Wool Week

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Wool Week in WA is a thing of the past but from April 23-29 the event will be featured at Sydney's historic Pier 2/3.

Similar events have gone through rejuvenation, partly in response to the Prince of Wales' global Campaign for Wool, which is encouraging manufactures, retailers and designers to choose wool.

Prince Charles is a staunch supporter of sheep farmers and wanted to highlight the benefits wool had to offer.

In October 2010, the launch of the Campaign for Wool was staged at London's Wool Week which was followed by a September 2011 event.

Wool Week is now being recreated in a host of international cities, including Milan and Madrid.

Campaign for Wool vice-chairman Nicholas Coleridge said the Prince Charles-inspired campaign had already made a significant positive impact on the perception and viability of wool.

"It has championed the wonders of wool," Mr Coleridge said.

Australian Wool Innovation chief executive Stuart McCulloch said the focal point of Sydney's Wool Week would be the ground-breaking Wool Modern exhibition, a celebration of wool in the 21st century.

"Wool Modern will celebrate the aesthetic, environmental and technical benefits of wool with stunning fashion pieces nestled alongside wool-focused installations and products by interior designers, artists and photographers," Mr McCulloch said.

He said there would be an exclusive look at the wool archives from fashion designers, including Thierry Mugler and Sonia Rykiel, with innovative new pieces by renowned designers and brands, including Giles Deacon, Mark Fast, Erdem, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and David Koma.

The Australian leg of Wool Modern's global schedule will also include pieces from local designers, including Collette Dinnigan, Willow, Romance Was Born, Josh Goot, Ellery, Jenny Kee and Akira, and also feature work from three of Australia's most talked about interior designers, Sarah King, Emma Elizabeth and Henry Wilson.

The curator of Wool Modern, Charlotte Lurot, said the objective of the exhibition was to showcase wool as the most diverse, sustainable and desirable of natural fibres.

"This exhibition features works in wool by some of the world's most remarkable creative talents in fashion, interior, art and conceptual design," she said.

Mr McCulloch said Wool Modern would continue its world tour by travelling to Shanghai in October with special Chinese commissions.

Meanwhile, Melbourne will bring Wool Week back to Australia by hosting the event in September.

Wool Week has certainly come a long way since when WA Premier Sir James Mitchell commended the State's campaign back in 1932 for the assistance it would bring both to the pastoral industry and local mills.

Back then, the advertising posters carried the slogan 'When you're wool clothed you're well clothed'.

The director of education, W. Clubb, permitted lectures on sheep and wool at State schools during Wool Week.

Also part of the festivities was an effort to establish a record in the making of a suit with a sheep shorn in Albany on May 23, 1932.

The fleece was processed at Albany Woollen Mills and turned into cloth in about five hours.

The cloth was then flown to Perth to the Goode, Durrant and Co factory where it was made into a suit to be worn by Brigadier-General A.J. Bessel-Browne.

In recent years, WA promoted Wear Wool Wednesday, but even this one-day event has now disappeared, leaving the State a little worse for wear in promoting the wool industry.

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