Merino designers in Hong Kong

4 April 2012

World-class textile education facilities in Hong Kong attract key personnel from the region, and their fashion shows attract support, sponsorship and raw materials from many of the region’s key knitwear and apparel companies including The Woolmark Company.

Vincy Cheng, AWI; Val Power and Julia Clarke, Flinders Merino; Dr Judyanna Ng and Liliane Tang, Hong Kong PolyU, Greg Andrew and Nicole Luckraft from ‘Hamilton Run’, Jamestown, South Australia inspect designers’ portfolios at Caritas Bianchi College of Careers.

By sponsoring awards at these fashion shows, The Woolmark Company aims to raise awareness of the natural benefits of Australian Merino wool among the young generation of design talent in Hong Kong. The objective is that the designers will use Merino wool in their future collections.

In 2011 The Woolmark Company sponsored a “Best Use of Australian Merino” award at four major fashion shows that attracted audiences of nearly 1500 people, including members of theregion’s apparel companies:

  • Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) Knitwear & Accessories Show (18 May). AWI award winner: Penny Chan
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) Fashion Show 2011 (9 June). AWI award winner: Barbie Chan
  • HKDI Graduation Fashion Show 2011 (23 June). AWI award winner: Yan Chan 
  • Caritas Bianchi College of Careers (CBCC) 18th Fashion Show 2011 (7 July). AWI award winner: Kevin Leung.

The The Woolmark Company-sponsored prizes were a trip to Australia to receive training about Merino wool. Here the prize-winning designers met woolgrowers on their properties, visited a wool auction, AWEX and AWTA, and exchanged ideas with local fashion designers.

The relevance and importance of Hong Kong’s young fashion designers is also attracting interest directly from individual Australian woolgrowers who in recent years have been providing their own sponsorship for awards at the fashion shows.

A group of woolgrowers from South Australia – known as Flinders Merino – have sponsored an award at the PolyU Fashion Show for the past four years. The 2011 winner of the Australia Study Tour Scholarship sponsored by Flinders Merino was Jean Chan, who was rewarded with a trip to Australia and an educational stay on woolgrowing properties in the Flinders.
The Flinders Merino representatives at the 2011 event were Val Power of ‘Sambas’, Orroroo and Julia Clarke of ‘Pamatta Station’, Carrieton.

“The designers showed individuality and amazing skills involving the different themes they used to put their designs together. This resulted in a very entertaining fashion parade,” Mrs Power said.

Mrs Carrieton commented, “I thought the fashion show was highly professional and many of the designers showed work which was inspired and original. We were impressed with the winners of both awards especially their originality and the ability to make the designs commercially viable.”

While in Hong Kong the two Flinders Merino representatives took the opportunity to visit the PolyU Fashion Design Studio and the Clothing Industry Training Authority to learn more about the Hong Kong fashion industry.

In July, Greg Andrew and Nicole Luckraft from ‘Hamilton Run’, Jamestown, South Australia presented an Australian Merino Study Tour Scholarship, which they were sponsoring, at the CBCC Fashion Show, won by Julia Tong.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s major knitwear exporters. As the gateway for southern and eastern Chinese wool processors and manufacturers, it is a global hub for sourcing wool garments particularly for the major US and European brands.