More than 200 woolly golfers teed-off at the Lyle & Scott Woolly golf course.
Initiated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2010 to halt the decline of the wool industry, and supported by many of the world’s finest designers and retailers, The Campaign for Wool has now expanded into 11 markets and celebrated the biggest Wool Week to date in the UK, running from October 15 to 21.
Now in its third year of the Campaign for Wool, the UK is one of the most established markets and is leading the way in establishing the campaign as an educational platform to grow consumer knowledge and understanding of wool as the finest natural fibre.
Wool School was the focus for the week and generated unprecedented news coverage from across online, print, broadcast and radio media including the front page of the Times, ITV1’s ‘This Morning’, Radio 4’s PM show and extensive online titles including Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and GQ.
Wool School is the first educational initiative which paired 11 of the UK’s best known retailers with fashion and textile design students from universities across the country. Each retailer worked closely with their chosen university throughout the briefing stage to ensure their brand essence was integral to heart of the designs and then once chosen, the lucky winning students had an invaluable commercial experience as they worked with their retail partner to produce at least 50 units for sale in stores and online.
Notable successes in the partnership include Topshop, which put two styles into a production run of 500 units of each; Marks and Spencer, which ordered 120 units; and Jigsaw, which produced both men’s and women’s jumpers – both of which have now sold out online. At the end of the first week trading sales figures indicate that Wool School has been a resounding success with Marks and Spencer selling 42 units (almost half its stock) and Topshop which has sold an incredible 400 units and is planning a re-issue already.
Winning student, Natalie Mason from Leeds University, who designed the M&S jumper comments: “I specialised in knitwear at university and seeing my design in the shop, online and people wearing it was an amazing feeling. I hope to pursue a career in knitwear.”
The rest of the Wool Week 2012 Diary unfolded as follows:
Monday 15th October
Harvey Nichols kicked off the rest of the Wool Week 2012 proceedings by getting wrapped in a five metre ball of wool and 100m of yarn.
Wool Week was opened at a glamorous launch at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Model, where socialite and model Poppy Delavinge come down to switch on the installation’s lights sparking a warm woolly glow across the famous Knightsbridge street.
HRH The Countess of Wessex greeted students and retailers participating in the Wool School initiative and Campaign for Wool co-chair Nicholas Coleridge gave an impassioned speech that put wool firmly on the fashion and style agenda.
Tuesday 16th October
The Design Centre Chelsea Harbour staged a bespoke wool interiors installation for the third year in a row, showcasing the best wool innovations in the interiors sector. The Campaign for Wool was also proud to announce the launch of Wool House Curated by Arabella McNie, the interiors stylist with extensive experience working with luminaries of interior design, Wool House opens as a public exhibition in the new West Wing of Somerset House in March 2013.
Wednesday 17th October
Love Wool UK, the artisan collective under the Campaign for Wool banner, took to the tracks with the ‘Clickety Click on the Clickety Clack’ as more than 30 super knitters including students, designers, crafters and media were tasked with the challenge of a long distance knit-off. Teams completed a record breaking Union Jack Flag, made up in natural shades of British Wool from six different sheep breeds and designed and sponsored by Rowan Yarns, in the time it took for the train to travel from London to Edinburgh and back (a round trip more than 800miles). The wool flag was raised at Kings Cross on their return to London on Thursday.
In addition, LoveWool UK held a freestyle Wool Week celebration with the knitting and craft community hosting more than 200 individual events celebrating wool from the very north to the south of the country, including a whole week of wool events in the Sheltland Isles led by Jamieson & Smith and an exciting programme of workshops, college collaborations and displays at Armley Mills in Leeds.
Thursday 18th October
Merino Kids, a premium childrenswear brand specialising in 100 per cent Merino sleepwear opened the doors to their brand new showroom in Battersea and hosted an open day in their flagship store Battersea London to launch their new global partnership with The Woolmark Company. Merino Kids works in partnership with award-winning Australian farm Bally Glunin Park to source some of the finest merino wool in the world and farm owner Michael Blake was on hand to meet and greet customers and media to talk about the provenance of his wool.
Also teeing off on October 18 was the Lyle & Scott Woolly golf course. More than 250 customers participated in Covent Garden’s inaugural miniature woollen golf course complete with sheep and woolly green carpet putting lawns - a huge hit as every completed score card was rewarded with a 15 per cent discount voucher to redeem against wool products in store. Woolly Golf ran throughout the weekend until October 21 and was further supported with an online competition which had 2200 entries. A hole in one for Lyle & Scott!
International Wool Weeks are due to take place in the following cities across the coming month, please visit campaignforwool.org for further information
22nd - 29th October / China
Wool Modern, the outstanding exhibition which launched in the UK in 2011 opened on October 22 in Bund 18, Shanghai’s celebrated art and design centre. Eight new Chinese designers have been selected to participate in the exhibition including Qui Hao (winner of the 2008 International Woolmark Prize), Vega Wang and Ma Ke Wuyang. The show was opened by international entrepreneur Sir David Tang KBE and supported editorially by Chinese style title Vision magazine which will be both previewing the event in September and dedicating the October issue to Wool Modern with an incredible 20-page feature.
Once Wool Modern closes on October 29h Shanghai’s luxury department store SOGO will extend the Wool Week celebrations with an installation of selected pieces from the exhibition until November 6.
5th – 9th November / Netherlands
An action-packed week of activity will celebrate Campaign for Wool, with everything from street-based guerrilla stunts to a dazzling launch event in Amsterdam featuring more than 20 wool outfits designed especially for The Campaign for Wool by established designers as well as alumni, one from each fashion and design university in the Netherlands.
The globally renowned fashion, product and interior designers from the region have truly embraced Campaign for Wool, and with the added support of some exciting new retailers the campaign is set to reach a wider audience than ever before.
6th – 9th November / Germany
After a great start last year with the launch of the Wool Modern in Berlin, Wool School will be the primary focus for the German market to celebrate Campaign for Wool in 2012. A series of strategic partnerships encompassing all elements of the retail landscape, from high-end boutiques such as Horst Wanschura to more widely available brands such as Marc Cain, has been established, thereby demonstrating the versatility and potential of wool for all consumers. The following universities and brands will be collaborating, with winning designs being showcased in participating partner’s stores:
1. HS Niederrhein & Marc Cain
2. Staatliche Modeschule Stuttgart & Horst Wanschura
3. Design Department Dusseldorf & Heimat Cologne
4. FH Hannover & Wormland
5. FH Bielefeld & Brooks
21st – 24th November, Madrid Spain
On Calle Serrano (Madrid’s main shopping street ) Amigurumi yarn bombing installations will captivate shoppers. A special knitting lounge will host a stunning exhibition about wool and knitting with wool workshops organised for bloggers and craft fans. A wool fashion parade by designers will be followed the next day by a retail fashion parade and throughout the area stores will be enticing shoppers in with artistic wool installations and more woolly photographic exhibitions.
For more information visit the Campaign For Wool website.