Aussie wool growers showcased in New York bridal collection

Aussie wool growers showcased in New York bridal collection

Sheepmeat
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Thanks to a young up-and-coming Australian fashion designer, wool grown in the district of Berremangra, NSW, is being showcased on the world stage.

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Thanks to a young up-and-coming Australian fashion designer, wool grown in the district of Berremangra, NSW, is being showcased on the world stage.

Bridal fashion designer Emma Yates set out to create a collection that would bring the story of Australian farmers onto the world stage.

She also wanted wool growers to see the end product of all their hard work and their fibres in a final garment.

Yates has been working in partnership with Berremangra's Richard and Stephanie Hyles.

For her most recent project, she processed three fleeces.

"Two years ago Richard offered me fleece for my upcoming collection, as he knew I was interested in incorporating more Australiana into my work," Yates said.

"I scoured and carded that fleece myself and from that, a relationship grew in which I sourced raw wool fibres from them."

Richard is a fifth generation wool grower, who's property is located one and a half hours north-west of the nation's capital.

"I'm a passionate wool grower and we couldn't be happier Emma's collection," he said.

"We are really proud of what she has done."

The wool was processed in Victoria at Wool2Yarn and shipped to New York to create the garments.

"The collection was brought back to the Westbourne property in Berremangra for the final photoshoot so that the fibres could be seen full circle and to better show off the Australian landscape," Yates said.

Yates, who recently completed an undergraduate degree in fashion design at Parsons School of Art and Design in New York, is originally from Sydney but has been living in New York for the past five years.

As a child, she spent much of her time growing up in Jugiong with her extended family.

Everything in the collection is sourced from the land; Yates also sourced chicken feathers from a local property in the region.

"I really emphasised this with the collection by using only natural fibres," she said.

"In the collection, there is kangaroo leather, cow leather, lambskin, sheep fur (shearling), feathers, silk linings, wood beads and wood buttons.

"I produced the cape (pictured) by sewing thousands of chicken feathers individually to a wool/silk base and attached it to a leather harness so it could become an accessory piece that a bride could wear as a train for her day, but the piece was also removable and therefore her outfit entirely customizable.

"I want them to see the longevity and renewability of using wool and the biodegradability of the fibre that allows it to breakdown when the lifecycle of the garment is over."

Yates wants her brides to know the origins of their dress, and nurture a connection with the land, farmers and animals who made their dress possible.

"Wool is not typically used in bridal wear, I love being able to showcase it in different forms, in double-faced fabrics, in flannels, in knits and in upcoming seasons also in lace," she said.

Yates believes it is important to build a relationship between the producer and consumer to break negative stereotypes around the use of animal products, especially in the fashion industry.

"I want to give a face to the farms and farmers who supply the fibres and the incredible job the farmers do and I also want to show consumers the relationships farmers have with their animals," she said.

"I want to break from the tradition of just selling greasy fibres and instead allow the farmers an insight into the processes that happen to their fibres once they leave the property.

"Everything from the scouring and carding, to weaving, knitting, sewing and then the final outcome, which they can see has come from their animals and our collaboration."

The story Aussie wool growers showcased in New York bridal collection first appeared on Farm Online.

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