The DNA scheme has been developed by AWN and is the first in Australia that allows wool growers to be able to follow the journey of their wool from bale to retail.
The deal has been developed in conjunction with the company’s knitwear manufacturing business Hysport.
According to the official media release by AWN, the end product is the luxury label MerinoSnug, one of Hysport’s premier clothing brands.
“We started on the concept of a grower to garment proposal in 2011 when nineteen members came together to form Kangaroo Island Wool. Eighteen of our members are wool growers and the nineteenth is our local vet who supervises all our sheep health and genetic breeding work,” said Chairman of Kangaroo Island Wool Christine Berry.
“We run 700,000 merino and British breed sheep on the island which produces 3 million kg of wool per year. Our fleeces are of exceptional quality and ranges between 17.6 and 20.6 microns and many of our growers use Australia’s top 10 per cent recorded merino sires.”
The garments are made from Australian Merino wool and New Zealand possum fur. The knitwear is manufactured in Australia using state-of-the-art “whole of garment” knitting machines.
“We started in 1999 with a vision to bring wool growers and processors closer together. It sounds simple and the first steps were to work more closely with the existing processors which to date has worked well and we still use this approach today,” Australian Wool Network Managing Director John Colley said.
“But we wanted to go further and connect the woolgrower and their wool to the garment and this we achieved last year when we purchased Hysport, a Melbourne knitwear manufacturer. By controlling wool processing from bale to retail we are in charge of some of the associated costs, enabling us to potentially offer a better price for specific wool types, as well as be much more aware of consumer desires.”