PARIS — With Paris Fashion Week kicking off today, expect to see more of the Woolmark certification across brands here, including for the second edition of its two-season partnership with Zadig & Voltaire, and the first cobranded capsules for the Koché and Jacquemus women’s lines.
The nonprofit organization, which has a new team in place in France led by country manager Damien Pommeret, will be broadcasting mini profiles of key brands from the week, with a wooly angle.
Pommeret said the aim of the Paris office is to continue cultivating lifelong partnerships with talents based in France, “to make sure they get the wool message.” Among historic examples, he cited the 1954 International Woolmark Prize that catapulted Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, who remained “wool ambassadors” throughout their respective careers.
Eighty percent of the turnover France’s top 50 brands is generated outside of their home market, which brings major visibility, Pommeret said. “It’s really important that all the key designers are using wool, because everybody is looking at what they do, including the fast-fashion players.”
The company is also a sponsor of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography and the Vogue Fashion Festival, and works with schools including IFM and Parsons. Brands working with Woolmark get access to textile engineers, or “wool gurus,” to learn about the diversity of wool and its properties as a natural, breathable, biodegradable fiber.
A subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, Woolmark is funded by some 60,000 Australian woolgrowers. Its headquarters are in Sydney, with 14 offices worldwide, each with its own character and size. The Hong Kong office, for instance, is mainly staffed by textile engineers.
Woolmark’s role is to promote the Australian wool industry to ensure the entire supply chain runs smoothly. Forty percent of spend is allocated to “on farm” and animal husbandry investments, such as bringing new technologies to farmers like drones and new medicine, and 60 percent goes on “off farm” marketing, working directly with suppliers and designers who use or want to use wool, Pommeret explained.
The Woolmark logo was created in 1964.
In other France-related projects, a collaboration with Fusalp and a capsule marking 50 years of partnership with Saint James is to launch in October. An accompanying video campaign for the latter will pan from scenes with sheep farmers in Australia to the Saint James factory near Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, to images of people wearing the brand’s Breton sweaters on the streets of Paris.
Currently based on Place Vendôme, the growing Woolmark Paris team plans to move into bigger digs in the city in 2019.