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Rates of interest rise on Wool Street
Feb '11
Wool continues to make strong inroads in the active-outdoor apparel market, so much so that “Wool Street” was created at the world's leading sports apparel trade show ISPO in Munich, Germany.

In a joint effort between ISPO and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the indoor boulevard of wool retailers was created to support the growing interest in the use of the natural fibre.

Malcolm Walkinshaw, CEO of fabric manufacturer Designer Textiles International, a new member of the MerinoPerform program was one of the exhibitors on Wool Street.

“There is now a strong recognition of the natural benefits of Merino amongst sports brands, and Designer Textiles International is using innovative Merino fabrics to differentiate ourselves from synthetics. So, the demand for Merino is continuing to increase.”

“The opportunity of working with AWI to further develop and expand this market is exciting. I look forward to our companies jointly fulfilling the potential of Merino wool in the sports market,” Mr Walkinshaw said.

More than 90,000 sports industry professionals and businesses gathered at the four-day event. ISPO senior associate Martin Kössler (pictured) added that having so many companies promoting Merino products together in Wool Street helped deliver a strong impact.

“It has been very much appreciated by visitors to have a one-stop-shop where they can find Merino garments and fabrics, as well as get a deeper knowledge and understanding of the natural benefits of the fibre. There has been a lot of interest in Merino this year and it is our intention to further develop the Wool Street platform together with AWI over the coming years.”

At ISPO, AWI launched a new fabric innovation; MerinoPerform Pro. The latest generation in Merino sports technology uses both hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties (water repelling and water attracting) to cleverly keep the wearer as dry and as comfortable as possible, even during the most strenuous of exercise.

In another positive sign for wool at the show, an innovative wool padding for outerwear jackets and equipment, created by German manufacturer Ortovox in partnership with Woolmark licensees Van Riel and Baur, won this year's ISPO European Ski Award for soft-goods. The product has an excellent weight-insulation ratio, it can be washed at high temperatures (60°C) and benefits from wool's unique breathability. In addition, it can also be significantly compressed when not in use.

Representing AWI at ISPO was global manager for sports/outdoor Lars Ulvesund.

“I have been attending ISPO for many years now and during the past four years wool has gained strong momentum in this market. It is pleasing to see Merino being used so widely but non Merino wool is also offering new opportunities for manufacturers and the Ortovox award winning product is an example of this,” he added.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

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