The 15th edition of India Fashion Forum (IFF’15) flagged off today at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. The three-day event organised by Images Group will be concluded on March 19. The day one started with the IFF knowledge series in which Roy Kettlewell, Global Innovations Manager, The Woolmark Company, Australia; and Birgit Gahlen discussed the international Spring Summer 2016 and Autumn Winter 2016-17 trends. The knowledge series also highlighted shaping the future of fashion in wool.
Merino Wool Fashion Trends in India
The global trends are impacting on what we wear. Fashion has become the very essence of every scenario. The growth in casual dining and socialising permits less formal dressing and thus the Woolmark casual clothing comes into picture. The financial crisies point towards the luxury for less. Kettlewell says, “This is nothing new globally but it is also impacting on wool in India.”
Talking particularly about the trends in India, over the next 20 years the Indians living in cities are expected to grow by 300 million. This growth in urbanization would mean more socializing opportunities, leading to more sophisticated combinations of casual outfits. Fashion for its own sake is used as a means of self-expression, and so the youth would connect more to the casual way of dressing. This growth in the denim, sports and t-shirt sectors within India creates opportunities for the Woolmark Company to use merino wool through innovation.
The merino innovations include:
- Touch: Softness and luxury in Merino wool (e.g. mercerised merino, silky touch jersey)
- Functionality: Extra benefits for the consumer (e.g. merino air, wool denim)
- Visual: New looks and textures for casual wear (e.g. merino retract, sculptured merino, vintage merino knits,yarns and wovens)
The Woolmark Company’s Global Marketing campaigns globally work around for three things:
- No Finer Feeling
- Campaign for Wool
- International Woolmark Prize
The company also has certain targeted campaigns across several market segments – each inspired by Merino’s natural benefits. These are Fashion, Urban & Contemporary, Sport & Active and Mother & Baby.
Kettlewell concluded by saying, “making mistakes deliberately to create innovation” . Many mistakes or problems faced by thr Woolmark Company have been turned into virtues to make merino wool versatile and contemporary.”
The Woolmark Company is owned by Australian Wool Innovation and is a not-for-profit company. It invests in R&D and marketing. The Woolmark Company provides the Australian wool – from woolgrowers through to retailers. The company works with woolgrowers, manufacturers, fashion designers, brands, retailers and finally consumers.
Roy shared insights into Wool and its properties as he says, “Wool is a natural body fibre, made of the protein Keratin, and primarily comes from sheep. It grows in tufts called staples on a sheep’s back. Australia produces 85 – 90 percent per annum of the world’s apparel wool and there are around 73 million sheep in Australia (2012) producing 340Mkg of greasy wool worth 200 Crore US$.”
The Merino wool has many properties and Kettlewell mentioned a few- natural comfort, durability,thermal regulation,odour management,breathability,appearance, retention,easy care and safety.