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Australian wool inspires emerging Hong Kong designers

6 December 2013

A delegation of award-winning young fashion designers from Hong Kong’s leading tertiary organisations visited Australia in September to learn about the origins of Australian Merino wool and experience the Australian wool industry first-hand.

The trip was also an opportunity for Australian woolgrowers to hear the designers’ thoughts about working with wool and the key market of Hong Kong. The seven students were all recipients of the Best use of Australian Merino award from various fashion shows and competitions in Hong Kong, sponsored by The Woolmark Company and the Flinders Merino wool-growing group of South Australia.

This is the fifth year The Woolmark Company has welcomed a group of Hong Kong designers to experience Australia’s wool industry. They visited working farms, AWEX and AWTA, Michell Pty Ltd in Adelaide, RMIT University’s School of Fashion and Textiles, Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia – Textile and Fashion hub, EMU Australia and the National Wool Museum.

The Woolmark Company key account manager for Hong Kong, Daniel Chan, who accompanied the delegation, said the trip provided the designers with a unique first-hand experience.

“It’s a wonderful trip for the young Hong Kong designers to experience an Australian wool farm and the fashion industry in Australia,” Mr Chan said. “The delegation members all enjoyed their stay in Australia and it would be an unforgettable memory for the rest of their lives.”

Award winning fashion designers from Hong Kong travelled to Australia to learn more about the qualities of Australian Merino wool

During a five-day visit to woolgrowing properties of Flinders Merino, the delegation developed a greater appreciation for the farm to fashion journey and drew inspiration from the natural and beautiful environment where Australian Merino sheep are reared. The designers also got to try their hand at shearing and feeding sheep – work which they are so far removed from when in Hong Kong.

“This trip was definitely unforgettable,” said Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) student Tim Man. “The knowledge we got from this trip not only enhances the ability to design, but is also crucial for working in the related industry. That’s how invaluable it was. I am deeply grateful for The Woolmark Company, especially to Daniel and the woolgrowers.”

Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) designers Annie Siu and Orange Choi echoed Mr Man’s praise for the trip.

“This is a special experience for me,” Miss Siu said. “In this trip, the woolgrowers taught us lots of wool knowledge and I enjoyed life on the farm. The Australian natural landscape is really attractive to me and I will never forget this trip.”

Miss Choi also said it was an honour to participate in the farm visit to Australia: “I learnt many things from this trip, and it will be very useful for my future career.”

The students on the trip were: Tim Man and Constance Lee from HKPU, Orange Choi and Annie Siu from HKDI, Anna Wong from Caritas Bianchi College of Careers, Sabrina Fong from the Knitwear Innovation and Design Society, and Anne Graham from Hong Kong Baptist University.