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Top Japanese menswear retailers experience down under wool's story

Feb '07
Representatives from four of Japan's largest menswear retailers, Aoyama Trading, Aoki Holdings, Haruyama Trading and Konaka have seen, first hand, where quality wool garments and other wool products begin their life-cycle.

During the second week of February the group of eight, comprising buyers, merchandisers, sales managers, marketing and promotions staff were guided by Woolmark's Mitsuo Hori and Naoko Takahashi and began with a look at the history of wool in Australia at the Geelong Wool Museum.

Aiming to educate young retailers on the virtues of the wool fibre, and to give them a whole-of-pipeline picture of the Australian wool industry, the trip included visits to farms, AWTA, the wool showfloor (where wool can be physically appraised prior to auction), wool auction rooms and retail outlets.

"These delegates represent retailers who between them sell more than 4 million men's suits in Japan annually” said Mr. Hori. “It is critical that they experience first hand where this beautiful, versatile fibre comes from and how it ends up in the product they value and promote in Japan.”

Part of the ongoing work of The Woolmark Company in using its extensive global network to bring together manufacturers, retailers wool industry partners, this education programme was first developed for Japan's Siroset Association (the industry body founded in Japan by makers-up and pleaters with the assistance of The Woolmark Company to manage technical and promotional activities) 6 years ago.

Since then Woolmark's Japanese office have been leading a delegation of menswear retailers, the most important market for the Siroset permanent crease treatment, each year. In 2005 6.5 million pairs of men's pure wool trousers were processed using the Siroset treatment, that is 1.5 times the volume processed in 2000 - a result not only of the machine washable boom in Japanese retail outlets but also of the ongoing successful education of Japanese retail staff.

The Woolmark Company, Australia

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