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New dyeing process makes wool look & feel sexy
Mar '11
BGI Developments has signed an agreement with AgResearch which will lead, for the first time, to the manufacture of multi-coloured fine merino wool fabrics, on a major scale, both in this country and overseas.

With Directors in both Wellington and Christchurch, BGI Developments will be working with manufacturers to commercialise the new coloured fine wool fabrics, bringing them to fashion houses around the world.

“These products are a world first in textile and fashion development, and an excellent example of how technology can enhance New Zealand's exports,” says Robyn George-Neich (BGI Developments Director).

“The new colouring process developed by AgResearch means that patterns and graphics are dyed in the fabric not just printed on top. The fabric looks and feels better than standard printed fabric, because it doesn't have plastic graphics on it. The consumer benefits because the pattern doesn't deteriorate over time. The garment feels more comfortable and maintains its appearance for longer. When you are paying a lot of money for your Merino top you want the pattern to last as long as the garment. Now it can.”

“It's an amazing development by New Zealand researchers and will revolutionise the way Merino fabric is dyed. Over time this will become the new norm because consumers will demand it. This is a real added value for the wool industry”.

The new process has been developed by a team at AgResearch Lincoln, under the leadership of textile scientist Dr Stewart Collie. The Textile Science and Technology Team has been working intensely for the last eighteen months, recently bringing the new process to successful completion.

The process can also be used on a wide range of fabric weights, enables limitless designs, is lightweight and machine washable.

“What manufacturers and fashion designers really like about this new process is the ability to choose colours and designs just before entering the market. This allows much more flexible marketing of garments, reducing risk for both manufacturer and retailer alike.”

Dr Collie says that this new all-in-one dyeing process produces a fine wool garment which looks fantastic and feels very pleasant next to the skin.

“Quite frankly it makes wool look and feel sexy,” he says enthusiastically. “It's a world away from Fred Dagg's prickly black singlets, and helps bring brightly coloured dyed wool fashion into the twenty-first century.”

Dr Collie says BGI Developments is now contracted to commercialise this new dyeing process with manufacturers both here and overseas.

“Judging by the response of New Zealand fashion designers there's a great deal of interest in manufacturing patterned wool garments using this technology. I'm very optimistic about its uptake by the industry,” he says.

AgResearch Limited

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