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Managing Director The Woolmark Company
Farmers are keeping the wool industry alive
The Woolmark Company is the global authority on wool, which highlights Australian wool's position as the ultimate natural fibre and premiere ingredient in luxury apparel. Stuart McCullough, the managing director of the organisation spoke to Fibre2Fashion about the global wool industry and The Woolmark Company's future plans.
How has the global wool industry evolved over the years?
The global wool industry really has changed. I am seeing a lot more wool in the retail market. So, there will be a lot more wool in the retail stores and on fashion catwalks, which is an evolution. The other end of the supply chain of the wool industry has changed dramatically in the last 20 or 30 years. It looks quite different from what it used to look like. More and better wool is growing and it has changed all the way along the supply chain and at both ends of the supply chain. Wool is now also being used in high-end fashion products.
What are the major changes that you have noticed in the Australian wool industry in the last decade?
In the last decade, the price has gone up and that is the biggest change. Farmers are now becoming profitable. This is a big and important change as they are now making money, whereas a decade ago they were not. They are keeping the industry alive.
Please tell us about the latest wool innovations being spearheaded by The Woolmark Company.
The Woolmark Company heavily invests in product research and development and we have a number of exciting innovations in the pipeline. One really exciting development, which is in stores now, was actually made in India and is the result of a three-way collaboration between adidas and The Woolmark Company. The fully engineered Primeknit Half Zip was a collaboration that utilised the fibre know-how and innovation from the team at The Woolmark Company and the consumer insights from Adidas.
This garment has a tubular almost seamless construction with flat seams which promotes comfort by eliminating rubbing or chaffing and the fully engineered garments offer the thermoregulation qualities of wool, enhancing the performance of your body.
What is the scope of the Indian wool industry in the global context?
India is a bit different because it is a very hot market. It is still very important to us because there are lots of deconstructed wool garments on the market now, and we can capitalise on that. More deconstructed garments are being manufactured now (.compared to earlier). It is a good opportunity there. It is a completely different market compared to Europe and North America, and there is good population and affluence as well. The climate is also favourable. There are tailored garments in the market too; so that is also an opportunity.
Any suggestion for improvement for the Indian wool industry?
No. I would never tell the Indian industry how to bring something better; they should work that out.
What is The Woolmark Company planning to do to further promote wool as an essential component for the luxury market?
Invest in marketing and promote merino wool. That is what we are doing. Marketing our product and trying to sell more of our product. The only way to do that is by marketing.
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