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New lightweight wool inspires revival in northern hemisphere
Jan '10
AWI-driven, grower-funded textile innovations such as Merino Touch, new lightweight wools and used and natural-look finishes are inspiring a wool revival in the northern hemisphere.

This prediction comes as leading Italian spinners gear up to show their spring 2011 collections in Florence at Pitti Filati, the world's most prestigious yarn fair.

President of Igea Stefano Borsini says the coldest northern hemisphere winters in more than three decades have reconnected consumers with wool – a trend reiterated by Borgosesia-based wool and cashmere spinner Lora Festa which says it will focus on wool rather than cashmere for spring 2011.

Stefania Bernardi, area manager of Filatura e Tessitura di Tollegno, said: 'Wool is still very important and is the reason we are striving to create lightweight wool. Europe is improving compared to a few years ago; in particular, the UK and France are performing well.

AWI CEO Brenda McGahan says this forecast wool revival validates the company's product development strategy of recent years.

'This prediction is a virtual playback of our knitwear strategy over the past year.

'Casual looks and special effects – new innovations for wool - have drawn the most attention at the knitwear trade events we've exhibited at this year and at all the sales calls we've made along the supply chain since we launched them last September.

'It's proof that our grower-funded investments in product development are not only in synch with the market but in this case guiding global yarn and fashion trends.

'What's also pleasing is that our product developments are helping drive a fibre switch away from cashmere towards Australian Merino wool, which is another key objective of AWI's strategic and operational plan,' Brenda says.

AWI reports from interior textile and sports and active wear trade events – taking place elsewhere around the globe – confirm this interest in wool is not confined to the yarn sector. At Domotex in Hannover and Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, AWI representatives and industry participants were swamped with inquiries about wool bedding and floor coverings. This week in the US, the company's Merino Perform range of innovative performance fabrics has been one of the stars of the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City.

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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