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  • Writer's pictureAkasha Usmani

The Woolmark way: 'Grown in Australia, Made in India'

The Woolmark is a global benchmark in the world of textiles and fashion. Its connections with India are deep and worth celebrating.

Indian fashion designer Suket Dhir with the International Woolmark Prize in 2016. He is the third designer from India, with Rahul Mishra and Ruchika Sachdeva, to win this prestigious prize.

The Woolmark Company is a branch of Australian Wool Innovation Limited since 2007, which owns the Woolmark trademark. Woolmark is a wool industry certification mark that is used on pure wool items that meet the company’s quality requirements and standards. It is a non-profit company that engages with Australian wool producers to develop, research, and certify Australian wool. The Australian wool growers realized the need for a collective entity to represent their fiber globally. Australian wool producers make changes for the better by improving their ethical and environmental standards. To adapt natural components for a more sustainable future, Woolmark unites the entire supply chain, from the farm to the customers.

Australia produces merino wool which is the finest and softest wool and no other fiber can compete to its inherent advantages. Australian farms that raise Merino breed of sheep all year round provide the natural fiber known as merino wool.

The Woolmark Company has begun a new campaign called Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel to draw attention to the negative environmental effects associated with the creation of synthetic clothes. The company wants to transform the market for the better. The products are made of natural, renewable, and biodegradable wool.

The Woolmark Company is increasing its presence in India. There has been an increase in raw wool imports from Australia, primarily Merino wool, to India. The demand for Australian wool has been rising continuously in the Indian market. The third-largest agricultural export from Australia is wool. India ranks among the top five global markets for Australian wool. India's production of woollen textiles and clothing uses a significant amount of Australian merino wool.

The Woolmark Company has partnered with a number of well-known Indian firms, including footwear manufacturer Neeman, Tata Cliq Luxury - a leading luxury lifestyle platform in India, Raymond -a fabric and apparel retailer and many other brands. The Woolmark Company certifies high-quality wool products, collaborates with producers and brands to raise awareness of the advantages of wool, and supports brand and producer technical needs as well as product development.

The International Woolmark Prize is an event hosted by The Woolmark Company to honor fashion talent from around the world. The Woolmark Company gives upcoming designers a stage on which to display Merino wool's elegance. It is one of the most important prizes in the world for up-and-coming fashion designers. Many Indian fashion designers have been a part of the International Woolmark Prize. The prize, which was established in 1953, recognizes fashion designers who successfully show off merino wool's beauty to other designers, customers, and retailers. The prize encourages wool creativity and offers the top designers in the world a platform for originality. One such Indian designer is Ruchika Sachdeva. She launched her own company, Bodice, at the age of 27. Within two years of starting Bodice, she was awarded the International Woolmark Prize in 2017 for the womenswear line she designed utilizing recycled consumer waste. Along with her, other Indian designers like Suket Dhir and Rahul Mishra have also won the award for their sustainable innovations with wool.

Ruchika Sachdeva is the youngest Indian designer to win the International Woolmark Prize.

The Woolmark Company works with companies to help them recognise the value of the fiber and also aims to inform the general public and small business owners about the benefits of utilising wool. One such educational program is the Wool Appreciation Course, which attempts to educate people about the unique qualities of wool and the advantages of using it for both interior design and clothing.

The company sponsors Wool Runway, an all-India competition where students from prestigious design schools like Pearl Academy and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, compete to show off their wool design skills to inspire others to adopt the fiber. The contest aims to introduce wool to the next generation and encourage fashion designers to work with this great fiber. The Woolmark Company has a worldwide network of offices and divisions that work together to import goods from Australian wool growers to Indian manufacturers and designers.

The company has an initiative ‘Grown in Australia' and ‘Made in India’. The campaign highlights Merino wool's farm to fashion journey from Australia to India and supports both the Australian wool industry and the Indian handloom market. It intends to link people involved in the wool supply chain, including brands, producers, and the Indian government, as well as give customers.

An example of Grown in Australia and Made in India is the leading shawl industry, Bhuttico. It is a significant partner of The Woolmark Company which frequently uses the incredibly luxurious Merino wool produced on Australian farms. Bhuttico has been preserving Himalayan customs in accordance with contemporary Indian and international trends since 1944. In India, handloom weaving has a rich and distinctive history that highlights the artisanal abilities and the age-old craft. Bhuttico has been authorized to use the recognizable Woolmark label on its products for the past 16 years. Bhuttico produces the renowned Kullu shawls in addition to scarves, stoles, western and traditional clothing, socks, ties, handbags, and other accessories produced from Australian Merino wool.

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