SYDNEY — Some 10 months after Australian Wool Innovation Ltd. acquired the 44-year-old Woolmark logo, AWI will unveil a more-than-$100 million marketing campaign today to relaunch Australian merino wool in the global marketplace as a clean, “green” luxury fiber.
The initiative embraces a new corporate identity, as well as a new brand stable and licensee program for AWI’s 1,845 global partners, including Lacoste, Marks & Spencer, Benetton, Next, Zegna, Brooks Brothers, Isetan and Dillard’s.
The Woolmark logo has been applied to more than two billion garments since it was launched in 1964 and is one of the world’s best-known textile brands.
The U.S. is likely to be a focus of the marketing effort. A 2006 survey of 22,000 consumers in 10 major wool consuming markets found a 94 percent recognition of the Woolmark brand in markets such as Japan, the U.K., France and Italy. However, there was only 48 percent recognition in the U.S.
The study also identified a clear distinction among consumers between perceptions of the term “wool” with “Australian merino.” The latter was viewed as a softer, more luxurious product.
Beginning this month, three new brands and licensing programs — Australian Merino, Superior Merino and Superior Merino Blend — will be rolled out globally to replace the original Woolmark, Woolmark Blend and Wool Blend programs. The iconic ball-of-wool Woolmark logo will get an additional new-look Merino logo featuring a stylized ram’s head.
“This is the first global relaunch in probably the last 10 years or so,” AWI chief executive officer Craig Welsh said in an interview. “We’ve spent the past 18 months writing a strategic plan for the Australian wool industry. One of the things that came out of the market research was that there is a global consumer megatrend toward natural fibers.”
There’s also a strong push toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in which the wool industry intends to participate. Welsh said substantial investments are being made in product development, while marketing will emphasize wool as a natural, biodegradeable and sustainable fiber.
“We’ve got a three- to five-year plan in terms of how we phase this in under the Woolmark branding to further support the green credentials,” he said.
There are 55,000 Australian wool-growers annually producing 400 million kilograms, or 881.8 million pounds, of fleece worth about 2.8 billion Australian dollars, or $2.5 billion at current exchange.
Welsh denied that wool boycott initiatives recently relaunched in several markets by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that decry the industry’s treatment of sheep had anything to do with AWI’s marketing push.
“The marketing campaign is developed on consumer demand and doesn’t really take into consideration anything that animal rights activists want,” Welsh said. “The industry itself made the commitment to phase out mulesing by 2010. If you look at Australia this year, over 30 percent of sheep will not be mulesed. And that will gather momentum onto 2010 and continue to go forward after that.”
Mulesing is the surgical removal of pieces of skin around the tail of a sheep to prevent “flystrike,” or flies laying eggs in the area leading to infestation.
“We’ve got 85 percent global market share in fine apparel,” he said. “We have a finite resource in a growing global marketplace and we are well-positioned to pick up on a lot of the future fashion trends which center around natural fiber.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye