How Australia Fires Will Impact Fashion

Cable knits and fine merino jumpers took center stage on the runways as Milan’s fall winter shows kicked off, but they may not make such a splash next year. 

Wool prices are expected to rise, as the Australian fires prolonged last year’s drought.

“It’s not the fires we are worried about... the sheep may not have anything to eat or drink,” said Ercole Botto Poala, CEO of leading Italian wool textile mill Reda 1865 and president of Italy’s Milano Unica textile fair. “The farmers who can afford it will buy hay elsewhere at a premium and then they’ll raise the prices.” 

 

Fires are raging in Southern regions like New South Wales but haven’t touched most of the key grazing lands aside from farms on Kangaroo Island near Tasmania where about 50,000 sheep perished and farmers resorted to shooting fire-injured sheep to put them out of their misery. Even though fires haven’t actually razed those lands, it’s a clear sign that the drought has no sign of abating in the near term. 

 

“This is the culmination of the year of the drought,” said Fabrizio Servente, Global Strategy Advisor for The Woolmark Company. 

 

Servente explained that during the last month of 2019, a kilo of wool was trading at about $15.50 Australian dollars.  The type of wool luxury mills purchased was trading at about $17 AUD. Servente said that an auction scheduled for later this week, should provide pointers, as to how wool will fare over the next few months. 

 

Amid a trade war between the United States and China, wool prices were actually trading at a record low as the Chinese backed off of the Australian commodity. The drought drove production down by 15percent in 2019. That is expected to drop at least another 10 percent over the next year, Servente said. 

 

Across the globe, mills are expected to feel the squeeze of rising wool prices which will ultimately raise the retail cost of wool across the board. Luxury mills in Italy that have perfected the method of refining raw wool fibers, welcome rising demand, he added. “It renders the product even more exquisite.” 

 

One of those firms is Piacenza Cashmere, a Biella-based mill currently run by the family’s  13th and 14th generation. “Merino wool is a noble fiber and so we aren’t worried about price hikes. If production of Australian wool is down we can always source from Argentina or other places,” said Ettore Piacenza, who heads the company’s raw materials department. Piacenza makes 70 percent of its revenues from cashmere it sources from the highlands of Peru and Mongolia, while 30 percent of its business comes from the production of merino wool fabrics. 

 

Luxury brands like Reda and Ermenegildo Zegna are lucky enough to have their own farms. Zegna’s is Achill, a 6,100-acre farm about 40 minutes east of Armidale, Australia. The family run company said none of its sheep have been harmed the blaze. 

 

For historic firms like Zegna, owning their farms allows them to have a close relationship with farmers and the raw materials, even though it doesn’t necessarily satisfy all of their production. Zegna, as well as Reda and many others, do business with suppliers all over Australia.

 

For now, the future is uncertain, said Botto Poala, whose family run company has weathered wars and natural disasters for over a century. When asked how companies like his are facing the Australia crisis, his response was short but direct.

“We are hoping it will rain.”

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Paco Rabanne's Poetic Female Stength
By Gianluca Cantaro
At Paco Rabanne, Julien Dossena presented an exquisite collection which celebrated the strength...
By Gianluca Cantaro
At Paco Rabanne, Julien Dossena presented an exquisite collection which celebrated the strength of the women and their freedom. "I wanted to highlight their power," explained the designer backstage after the show. "In today's difficult world, they need to be strong and express it. But I also...
At Paco Rabanne, Julien Dossena presented an exquisite collection which celebrated the strength of the women and their freedom. "I wanted to highlight their power," explained the designer backstage after the show. "In today's difficult world, they need to be strong and express it. But I also wanted to emphasize their romance. To do this, I played with a collision of different eras from where I...
Paris When It Sizzles
By Alice Pfeiffer
Draped lace, floral patterns, python prints, and a blazer with a plunging V-line opened Atlein’s...
By Alice Pfeiffer
By Alice Pfeiffer
Draped lace, floral patterns, python prints, and a blazer with a plunging V-line opened Atlein’s show. Purposely quoting conventional codes of femininity, designer Antonin Tron intended to parallel the notion of natural beauty (both in its organic references and its revisiting of classic...
Draped lace, floral patterns, python prints, and a blazer with a plunging V-line opened Atlein’s show. Purposely quoting conventional codes of femininity, designer Antonin Tron intended to parallel the notion of natural beauty (both in its organic references and its revisiting of classic garments) with natural concerns. Designer by day and activist by night, Tron produced the collection...
Stylish Conversation Piece at Lanvin
By Gianluca Cantaro
Bruno Sialelli at Lanvin did exquisite research into the...
By Gianluca Cantaro
Bruno Sialelli at Lanvin did exquisite research into the Maison's archives and imagined a kind of bridge between Jeanne Lanvin and today's world – the one he wants to narrate. The show took place in the Manufacture des Gobelins – a historic tapestry...
Bruno Sialelli at Lanvin did exquisite research into the Maison's archives and imagined a kind of bridge between Jeanne Lanvin and today's world – the one he wants to narrate. The show took place in the Manufacture des Gobelins – a historic tapestry factory founded in 1662 in Paris – and it displayed old Arazzi from different centuries. The cosy...
A Day Full of Parisian Promise
By Alice Pfeiffer
Rest assured should there have been any remaining doubts: sportswear is very much over and done...
By Alice Pfeiffer
By Alice Pfeiffer
Rest assured should there have been any remaining doubts: sportswear is very much over and done with — something Casey Cadwallader proved by showing a line of powerfully sexy clothes at Mugler.Drawing for the brand’s archives and its love for figure-hugging garments enhanced by bold proportions,...
Rest assured should there have been any remaining doubts: sportswear is very much over and done with — something Casey Cadwallader proved by showing a line of powerfully sexy clothes at Mugler.Drawing for the brand’s archives and its love for figure-hugging garments enhanced by bold proportions, he showed an army of belted leather overcoats, knotted shirts and lamé pants, that contrasted with...
Saint Laurent's Latex-ed Bourgeoisie
By Gianluca Cantaro
Bourgeoisie met latex at Saint Laurent today. Anthony...
By Gianluca Cantaro
Bourgeoisie met latex at Saint Laurent today. Anthony Vaccarello surprised everyone with sexy looks inspired by the uncool Nineties, turned cool by the designer's mixture of vintage items from a man's wardrobe and vinyl leggings, tops and dresses for a...
Bourgeoisie met latex at Saint Laurent today. Anthony Vaccarello surprised everyone with sexy looks inspired by the uncool Nineties, turned cool by the designer's mixture of vintage items from a man's wardrobe and vinyl leggings, tops and dresses for a hypersensual wiry silhouette. "I treated latex as the new denim," stated the designer backstage after...
The Sleek Explorers 3.0 at Coperni
By Alice Pfeiffer
When relaunching their label last season - which had been put on hold to head the creative...
By Alice Pfeiffer
When relaunching their label last season - which had been put on hold to head the creative direction of Courrèges for three seasons - the creative duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant paid homage to the World Wide Web with, amongst other cheeky details, a Wifi logo-shaped bag. This season, the...
When relaunching their label last season - which had been put on hold to head the creative direction of Courrèges for three seasons - the creative duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant paid homage to the World Wide Web with, amongst other cheeky details, a Wifi logo-shaped bag. This season, the pair pursued its technological inclination by playing on the duality in the term of “safari” - both...
Christian Louboutin's Distinct Approach
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
On Monday, February 24th, a range of stilettos, one more pointed than the other, were shamelessly...
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
On Monday, February 24th, a range of stilettos, one more pointed than the other, were shamelessly trampling on the floor of the National Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris - despite the sign at the entrance of the museum's exhibition Christian Louboutin L'exhibition(niste) that bans...
On Monday, February 24th, a range of stilettos, one more pointed than the other, were shamelessly trampling on the floor of the National Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris - despite the sign at the entrance of the museum's exhibition Christian Louboutin L'exhibition(niste) that bans any form of high heeled shoes. This sign depicting a crossed-out pump was initially hanging at the...
Japanese Korean and Nigerian Designers Opened Paris Fashion Week
By Gianluca Cantaro
Paris Fashion Week started with Japanese designer Mame 'Maiko' Kurogouchi. With a humble nod to...
By Gianluca Cantaro
Paris Fashion Week started with Japanese designer Mame 'Maiko' Kurogouchi. With a humble nod to her time in Iceland, the designer channelled the dry nature of autumn mornings and the primitive lands that made her think about the wisdom of everyday life. The traditional basket-making became the...
Paris Fashion Week started with Japanese designer Mame 'Maiko' Kurogouchi. With a humble nod to her time in Iceland, the designer channelled the dry nature of autumn mornings and the primitive lands that made her think about the wisdom of everyday life. The traditional basket-making became the fil rouge of the collection, starting with laced details on blouses and dresses before switching into...