Australian Merino wool is an obvious choice of fibre for Technical Garments production in Bangladesh

The Woolmark Company is the global authority on Merino wool and owns the Woolmark logo, a quality assurance symbol applied to more than 5 billion products. The Woolmark brand represents a commitment between woolgrowers, brands and consumers to the authenticity and quality of the fibre. As a not-for-profit organization, Woolmark Company works alongside Australia’s 60,000 woolgrowers to research, develop and certify Australian wool. 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable, Australian Merino wool is famous worldwide for its next-to-skin softness, strength, innate versatility, and technical benefits. Australian Merino wool’s versatility extends from luxury fashion to high-performance activewear, accessories, homewares, and everything in between.

John Roberts, Managing Director, The Woolmark Company

John Roberts is the Managing Director of The Woolmark Company. John has in-depth knowledge of the key players throughout the industry from the farm gate to the fashion catwalk. Recently Team Textile Focus covered an interview with John Roberts regarding The Woolmark Company’s Activities. The interview is drafted below for our readers.

TF: A brief on recent activities of The Woolmark Company?

John: Our role in the whole industry chain is to Connect, Educate, and Inspire. From woolgrowers, wool processors, and yarn and fabric manufacturers, to designers, brands as well as educational and research institutions, we work across the entire industry chain to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complete life cycle of wool.

This year we welcomed the return of a physical event for the International Woolmark Prize global final. Each of the seven finalists pushed the boundaries with Merino wool to inspire the industry with what this fibre can do. It not only celebrates the world’s best-emerging design talent but connects them with key innovators across the supply chain.

The Woolmark Performance Challenge for tertiary students is the preeminent ideas platform for the sports and performance market, designed to facilitate innovative, environmentally considerate product solutions for the sports and performance market.

Our Woolmark Learning Centre continues to evolve, offering a variety of free, self-paced courses designed to educate and upskill anyone in the textile and fashion industry. Individuals and businesses in the textile trade will be particularly interested in the Science and Technology Program, which combines a series of introductory and advanced courses for textile science and engineering, fashion and textile design and/or textile manufacturing.

Finally, for the latest product and processing innovations in wool, head to woolmark.com to discover new applications of the fibre and reduced-impact processes and technologies.

TF: How do you see the overall textile industry after the pandemic?

John: For every industry, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a plethora of issues and challenges. It has profoundly changed the world and everyone has to respond. From supply chains coming to a standstill, to changes in consumer purchasing behaviour, increased consumer anxiety over climate change and a desire for complete transparency every brand, including ours, has been challenged to rethink its approach to business and best practices.

TF: What are the main strengths of Australian Wool?

John: Australia produces 90% of the world’s Merino wool for fine apparel. It is also the world’s largest exporter of non-mulesed wool. Through best-practice sustainable farming, 60,000+ Australian woolgrowers are able to protect and regenerate the land, care for the health and happiness of their sheep and prosper as family-run businesses.

100% natural, renewable and biodegradable, Australian Merino wool is the best in the world, offering a natural solution to the global apparel and footwear industry. No other fibre – natural or man-made – can rival wool’s inherent technical properties and eco-credentials.

Wool is also the most reused and recycled fibre in the world. It is the only fibre with a well-established commercially viable recycling pathway of more than 200 years old in both an open and closed-loop system. This allows manufacturers and brands to diversify their offerings, in line with changing consumer demands and government policies.

TF: How do you see Bangladesh for Australian Wool?

John: Bangladesh is an extremely important emerging market for Australian wool and we see great potential here as the global textile market looks to diversify its supply chains. The capacity and skills in Bangladesh are well positioned for more wool production and we believe Bangladesh can strengthen its wool production support from The Woolmark Company. There is opportunity for Bangladesh to take on many facets of wool production from early-stage processing, spinning, knitting, weaving, and through to garment manufacturing. This also makes it a unique market as it can support the entire wool supply chain post-farmgate.

TF: How do you want to explore Australian Wool in Bangladesh?

John: We have already started to make inroads into Bangladesh and are identifying which knitters and sweater makers are using wool, or are wanting to, and we will continue to support these manufacturers with technical support and supply chain connectivity. We also want to explore the potential for early-stage processing in Bangladesh and are looking to connect with businesses who are interested in exploring this option with us. Currently, 80% of Australia’s raw wool goes directly to China for early-stage processing and we want to elevate this pressure Bangladesh presents an ideal market to help support this goal.

TF: Any specific message from you for the industry?

John: As we see the textile industry in Bangladesh become more sophisticated and manufacture more complex and technical garments, Australian Merino wool is an obvious choice of fibre to work with. With so many opportunities ahead for our fibre, we should be optimistic. Wool’s eco-credentials and unrivaled quality and versatility have it perfectly positioned to deliver what the world demands and it is an exciting time to be connecting with new manufacturing partners.