Runway success as designers weave merino wool into various outfits for the Fleece to Fashion Awards

Posted on

Wool has been removed from the sheep’s back and woven into everything from sportswear to wedding dresses for Fleece to the annual Fashion Awards in the New England region of New South Wales on weekends.

This is an opportunity for the industry to promote its products through fashion, and after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the event is bigger than ever, with guests meeting the historic Deargee Woolshed in Uralla on Saturday night.

With eight categories to enter, the category that stands out this year is a new addition called Diversity in Wool, where newcomers can celebrate their culture through their designs.

A male model wearing an outfit made of merino wool.
The Fleece to Fashion Awards features Australian merino wool used in a variety of styles, from sportswear to wedding dresses.(Provided: David Waugh)

Leading Australian designer Johnathan Ward was one of the judges and said he was impressed by the variety of fashions on display at the awards section.

“It’s amazing … it’s probably one of our biggest entries and there’s a lot of diversity and interest,” he said.

“What can be done with [wool] …a category I’m very interested in.”

Mr Ward found the caliber of design in all categories extraordinary and the future of the design industry promising.

A young girl and woman stand on the stage to receive an award.
Dechen Kandro stole the show at the Fleece to Fashion award.(Provided: David Waugh)

Teen designers have organizers in the loop

A 15-year-old Uralla Central School student won the MJ Bale Supreme Award, with Dechen Kandroher taking the grand prize for his design.

The trouser suit, cape, and clouche hat are made entirely of merino wool.

Fleece to Fashion board director and wool grower Liz Foster said the designs were extraordinary.

A woman in a pink and white dress walks down the runway.
Dechen Kandro, 15, was the overall champion in a trouser suit, cape and clouche hat.(Provided: Damien Gosson)

“The judges were blown away by Dechen’s entry – not only was the outfit stunning, [but by] in fact it was made by a young student who started sewing at the age of nine to improve his skills and has taken sewing classes with a local professional seamstress,” said Mrs Foster.

Dechen was also awarded the Winterbourne Pastoral Enterprise Middle School Award.

He says merino wool is a special fiber to work with.

“I also included a felt hat, which is something I’ve never designed or made before, which is a lot of fun.”

A wool shed is lit up at night.
The event took place at the historic octagonal Deeargee Woolshed, in Uralla.(Provided: Damien Gosson)

Showcasing the versatility of wool

Local wool grower Lachlan Fulloon is chairman of Fleece to Fashion.

He said the event was an important way to demonstrate fiber diversity.

“Wool is a fiber that is very unique in quality,” he said.

“For local wool growers and growers across Australia and the world, this is a great opportunity to see the fruits of our work.

“It’s amazing to see the design that can come from that.”

Posted , updated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.