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Rise in Aussie Merino demand spurs Woolmark to attend CHIC
Mar '14
More sophisticated Chinese fashion consumers have driven up demand for Australian Merino Wool in China. Leading Chinese and international textile companies, such as Youngor and Cerrutti 1881, have made their use of Australian Merino wool a key component of their collections that have proved very popular with Chinese consumers.
Attendance at CHIC is compulsory for anyone who's anything to do with the fashion and textile industry in China, and The Woolmark Company, the flagship organisation of the Australian Wool producers who supply 90 per cent of the fine wool that is used in premium and luxury garments, hasn't missed one show since Chic started.
The Australian presence at CHIC 2014 will be their biggest ever, and that's a reflection not just of The Woolmark Company's commitment to the Chinese market, but also of the encouraging signs that Chinese consumers are giving them.
"Not very long ago the premium and luxury garments market here was all about prestigious labels," said The Woolmark Company's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Rob Langtry.
"But Chinese consumers are now showing a real interest in ingredient branding. That means not just the garment itself and the style of it, but the story behind it – how the fabric's made, where the fibre comes from, and what makes it special. And when it comes to all those things, nobody has a better story to tell than Australian Merino wool."
Mr Langtry said one of the key reasons that Chinese fashion shoppers are becoming more discerning and sophisticated was the increased international travel that many Chinese can now afford. "A lot of more affluent Chinese people are spending a lot more time in overseas in cities like Hong Kong, London, Paris and New York. And increasingly they're looking for the same kind of quality and added value that shoppers in those places look for."
Because of its extraordinary softness and exceptional performance, the use of Australian Merino wool has long been a key selling point for leading British and European menswear and womenswear brands, with British and European brands who sell into China such as Gieves & Hawkes and Cerruti often highlighting the central role of Australian Merino in their collections.
But as you'll see if you visit The Woolmark Company stand at this year's CHIC, some major local players are now also starting to tell the Merino story, and are already being rewarded for doing so. Towards the end of 2013 Youngor, one of the country's largest fashion retailers, ran a joint Australian Merino wool promotion with The Woolmark Company, and by mid-January were reporting a 20 per cent increase in all wool sales in participating stores.

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