A southern NSW wool grower’s quest to turn non-mulesed Merino wool into an innovative and stylish fabric is exciting the Australian fashion industry.
Leon and Sandra Martin, of Albury, have used fine and medium micron wool from their Charmac Merino flock to design and develop an ethically-produced, pure wool crepe weave.
The couple came up with the concept of a woven fabric new to the Australian fashion scene, and featuring skin comfort and drape, after receiving feedback from domestic and international fashion designers.
Mr Martin said the message from the northern hemisphere about ethically produced, non-mulesed wool continued to be massive.
He said high end users wanted to buy soft woolen fabric which draped well, similar to chiffon.
Originally developed in South Africa as a separate Merino strain, the Charmac is a wrinkle-free, clean breeched sheep with soft handling, high yielding white wool.
The couple approached Albury based wool industry consultant David Tester and Macquarie Textiles for assistance, with the idea of developing an innovative crepe weave.
The fabric has been named Charne` in honour of Charne McNaughton, whose family originally bred the Charmac Merino in South Africa.
The Charne is due to be officially launched at an on-property field day on June 22, with a garment commissioned for the occasion by Mrs Foster.
The June 22 field day will be held on-property from 10am to 2pm with presentations on worm control, clostridial diseases, electric fencing innovations, sheep nutrition, the Australian Wool Fashion Awards, objective measurement, data collection and drench resistance.
Guest speakers Henri and Adrian McNaughton will outline South Africa’s sheep and wool industry, development of the Charmac and impact on the South African flock.