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AUSTRALIAN Merino wool took centre stage at a special market event for the United States’ fashion and retail industry in New York this week – with woolgrowers on hand to help spruik the benefits of the natural fibre.

The event was held as part of the International Wool Textile Organisation’s annual conference, the “2012 Fashion and Retail Market Report – What’s Working Now and Why” seminar this week.

Organised by AWI and Woolmark, it linked retailers and designers with natural and sustainable aspects of Australian wool, while key US fashion industry representatives spoke on future market opportunities.

Woolmark International northern hemisphere regional marketing manager Kara Hurry, who promotes Australian wool to retailers, said the event was important because the US fashion industry was one of the most influential in the world.

Ms Hurry said the US was a tough market and extremely competitive.

She said after a decline in demand because of the global financial crisis, there were positive signs that customers were back into buying luxury fibres.

“Retailers are posting sales growth. Nordstrom Inc, at the high end of the consumer market, saw a 10.5 per cent jump in total retail sales while Macy’s Inc, the mass moderate side of the consumer market, total sales edged up 0.4pc for April 2012 compared with 2011,” Ms Hurry said.

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“In the past four months there has been steady growth and there have been reports that the US is slowly coming out of recession.”

Ms Hurry said the next six months would tell whether the increase would be sustained.

“But wool at the end of the day has only 2pc of the global market share of fibres. To see that the premium end of the US market is growing is really positive.

“As a niche luxury fibre, after a 10-year hiatus, we are back talking to US consumers about why they should look at the ingredients before they buy fashion and that Merino wool is the ingredient that will deliver the best natural fibre fashion experience.”

Ms Hurry said many young US fashion designers were now working with wool with 30 entered in the International Woolmark Prize USA Competition, promoting the benefits of wool to emerging designers.

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May 14th, 2012
Topic: Sheep, WOOL Tags: , , , , , ,

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