Fashion designer and wool producer Emily Riggs from South Australian knitwear label Iris & Wool has teamed up with celebrity wool advocate Catriona Rowntree to produce a new capsule collection.
The collection includes five new garments made out of 100 per cent Merino wool, including Iris and Wool's first ever dress.
Ms Riggs said she was really excited about the collaboration and had approached Ms Rowntree because she has been a great ambassador for Australian wool.
"I love working with people who appreciate the fibre and what Iris and Wool stands for and it's been a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with Catriona," she said.
"I posted a photo of me in the coat just on my Instagram stories and that went nuts, there was a lot of interest... and I was at an event where we had a fashion parade as well that included some of the pieces and the dress was definitely a stand-out so it's all been very reassuring and positive.
"This collection is a lot of Catriona's influence... it's been so lovely to see the designs come to life and look and feel so beautiful."
Iris and Wool has seen rapid growth since its 2019 launch, with a strong regional customer base along with some city-based supporters.
Television presenter Ms Rowntree became a strong advocate for wool after marrying her husband James, a Victorian wool producer.
Ms Rowntree said it was a wonderful experience teaming up with Ms Riggs for the capsule collection.
"It's a double dose of good fortune because it's been born out of a friendship," she said.
"Emily and I met both flying the wool flag at the Jamestown Show, both of us are married to sheep and grain farmers and are very proud of the wool that is grown here in Australia and it was a natural progression that we were able to work on a project together.
"Within the capsule collection we were able to honour our partners by not only using the beautiful fibre of wool but also incorporating into some of the designs the lucky symbol of wheat."
Ms Rowntree said Australian wool was genuinely having a zeitgest moment as consumers focused on buying sustainable clothing made out a biodegradable, eco-friendly Australian grown fibre.
"For me, my TV presenter side is thrilled because we've got beautiful solid block colours, flattering designs and ultimately a product that will appeal to generations and individuals of all shapes and sizes," she said.
"These are just beautiful pieces that you'll pass on to your grandchildren.
"Both Emily and I live on sheep stations so because of the pandemic we've had to the whole thing by Zoom but the upside of that is you would have children running through the background, we are completely compassionate to crazy work hours and the challenges of being working mums and living in regional areas.
"It's pretty remarkable that we've been able to do all this via Zoom."
The designs are named after Ms Rowntree's favourite wool-producing towns across Australia.
"I did shed a tear when Emily agreed to honour the suggestion, from my dad's hometown of Quirindi to Jamestown, to these beautiful towns right across Australia... it's our subtle way of honouring our primary producers and we hope that farmers in these regions feel as much as sense of pride as what we do," Ms Rowntree said
The new collection is now available for pre-orders with deliveries expected end of March.
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