Green the new black

Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Bob Gar­nant

The State’s Merino wool­grow­ers are ben­e­fit­ing from a global eco-fash­ion move­ment.

The sus­tain­able na­ture of wool will be in the spot­light at this year’s

Eco Fash­ion Week event in Perth later this year.

Out with syn­thet­ics and in with nat­u­ral, re­new­able fi­bres — WA or­ganic Merino wool will be a star at­trac­tion as eco fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers pre­pare to re­write haute cou­ture eti­quette.

At­tract­ing local and in­ter­na­tional de­signer in­ter­est, the sec­ond an­nual Eco Fash­ion Week Aus­tralia will show­case high-fash­ion gar­ments all sketched and hand stitched un­der en­vi­ron­men­tally sound eth­i­cal stan­dards.

Nat­u­rally, in cel­e­bra­tion of the event, there was a pre­view of the new col­lec­tion of eco de­signs at the Mari­noni fam­ily’s or­ganic farm­ing property in Ko­jonup.

EFWA founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Zuhal Ku­van-Mills said her Green Em­bassy Merino-in­spired de­signs had their fi­bre ori­gins at the Mari­no­nis’ farm, where sheep are grazed on chem­i­cally free pas­tures. Eco fash­ion model Hay­ley Beard­man, who is 23 weeks preg­nant, said she felt safe wear­ing the farm’s home­grown wool as she pa­raded among the rich, green land­scape.

Ms Beard­man is one of many eco model vol­un­teers, which is open to new­com­ers, who will pa­rade the fash­ions this year. She will have given birth to her first-born only weeks be­fore.

“My con­tri­bu­tion will leave a last­ing green foot­print for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” she said.

Grantly Mari­noni, who farms with his wife Peta and parents Phil and Vi, said he was fully cer­ti­fied or­ganic Merino wool for more than 20 years, to co­in­cide with his cer­ti­fied or­ganic oats pro­duc­tion.

“We were hope­ful of cre­at­ing a new mar­ket for or­ganic wool, but be­cause de­mand was limited, it was not cost-ef­fec­tive to con­tinue,” he said. “There were no al­ter­na­tives to par­a­site con­trol to en­sure com­plete an­i­mal health wel­fare stan­dards.

“We ap­plaud the eco move­ment for recog­nis­ing our wool, which is pro­duced through or­ganic pas­ture and oaten stub­bles.”

Ms Ku­van-Mills said the care found on the Mari­no­nis’ farm was a driv­ing force for the di­rec­tion of the eco move­ment.

“We are in­spired by farm­ers’ sto­ries through their eth­i­cal pro­duc­tion of wool, and Merino will be highly fea­tured at this year’s event,” she said.

The farm­ing com­mu­nity will have the op­por­tu­nity to pre­view a se­lec­tion of eco fash­ions dur­ing the GWN7 Dow­erin Ma­chin­ery Field Days, Au­gust 29 and 30.

This year, the EFWA will take place in two lo­ca­tions — Port Dou­glas, Queens­land, from Novem­ber 4 to 10 and in Fre­man­tle from Novem­ber 15 to 21.

“The host of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude fash­ion pa­rades and free work­shops all in­spir­ing com­mu­nity sup­port and par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Ms Ku­van-Mills said. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at www.eco­fash­ion­weekaus­tralia.com

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Eco fash­ion model Ali­son Brem­ner wears a Green Em­bassy-de­signed Merino head­piece.

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