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Hong Kong fashion students connect with wool supply chain

21 November 2016

Four emerging fashion designers from Hong Kong visited Australia in August to learn first-hand about the wool production process and be inspired to continue using Merino wool in their designs.

Hong Kong fashion students Gloria Nga, Gwendelyn Ho, Nick Choy and Lion Sze showing their winning designs to fashion students at Adelaide TAFE.

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

Two students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) and two from the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) recently won fashion awards, with the ultimate prize of journeying to Australia to encourage the graduate students to continue to use wool in their designs as they progress through their careers. The students were all recipients of awards from various fashion competitions at their design college, with awards sponsored by both The Woolmark Company and the Flinders Merino woolgrowing group of South Australia.

The four Hong Kong student fashion award winners watching the action in a Flinders Range shearing shed.

The Woolmark Company sponsors these fashion design awards to promote the benefits of Australian Merino wool to the next generation in a region crucial to global textiles and fashion. As one of the world’s major knitwear exporters, Hong Kong is the gateway for southern and eastern Chinese wool processors and manufacturers, as well as a global hub for sourcing wool garments for major international brands.

This is the eighth year The Woolmark Company has welcomed a group of Hong Kong designers to experience Australia’s wool industry from farm to fashion.

The Hong Kong fashion students met fashion students form Melbourne’s RMIT.

While in Melbourne, the students visited RMIT to meet with Australian fashion students, the Council of Textile and Fashion’s Textile & Fashion Hub, the National Wool Museum, AWTA and a wool auction before heading to South Australia for a five-day farm stay at ‘Glenroy Estate’, which is part of the Flinders Merino group. This unique experience - so different to their lives in Hong Kong - allowed the students to develop a greater appreciation for the farm to fashion journey and draw inspiration from the natural and beautiful environment where Australian Merino sheep are reared. They even got to try their hand at shearing. The group also visited Michell Wool and Adelaide TAFE, before heading to Sydney to meet with The Woolmark Company staff.

Winner of the Flinders Merino Award, Lion Sze Tsz Ki from HKPU said: “It is my pleasure to receive this award that provides an opportunity to visit Australia. This trip gave me the chance to learn the processes before forming a wool fabric. We learned the whole procedure of making wool material, from sheep through to the final design. This trip inspired me to try different possibilities of wool to apply on different designs.”

Winners of the Best Use of Australian Merino Awards - Gloria Ling Wing Nga (HKPU), Nick Choy Chun Lok and Gwendelyn Ho Wing Choi (both HKDI) - all agreed the trip was an experience of a lifetime.

“This trip provided me with lots of opportunities from farm to fashion to learn more about the Australian Merino wool industry,” said Gloria Ling Wing Nga. “I really enjoyed living on the farm as this broadened my horizons of being a city girl, especially since we had the chance to shear a sheep. In addition, visiting a wool lab, wool auction and different fashion institutes allowed us to communicate and share information to enrich our knowledge.”