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
Hybridists of the Fashion Sphere
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm...
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm Show   Founded in 2007 by Japanese designer Hiromichi Ochiai, Facetasm embraces Tokyo’s essence through a variety of laid-back styles from the sportswear vibe. His ability to play with perspectives...
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm Show   Founded in 2007 by Japanese designer Hiromichi Ochiai, Facetasm embraces Tokyo’s essence through a variety of laid-back styles from the sportswear vibe. His ability to play with perspectives categorises him as one of the most eclectic menswear and womenswear designers of the time. From unisex...
A Duchampian Affair at Loewe
By Elisa Carassai
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in 1952. Inspired by the same artful spirit, at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson decided to ship across the world a series of boxes containing the things that inspired him, the details that made the process of...
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in 1952. Inspired by the same artful spirit, at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson decided to ship across the world a series of boxes containing the things that inspired him, the details that made the process of creating so special and mini iterations of his final looks. Almost mirroring Duchamp's desire to display...
Sartorial Masters Debut at Paris Menswear
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris...
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris Spring / Summer 2021    After working for over 20 years at Ter et Bantine, Dirk Bikkembergs, Mila Schon and Giorgio Armani and Gucci, Italian designer Davide Marello finally displayed his own...
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris Spring / Summer 2021    After working for over 20 years at Ter et Bantine, Dirk Bikkembergs, Mila Schon and Giorgio Armani and Gucci, Italian designer Davide Marello finally displayed his own creative vision in 2018, launching Davi Paris at Paris Men’s Fashion Week.   With his subtle,...
GmbH and The Power of Community
By Elisa Carassai
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has...
By Elisa Carassai
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has garnered over the past few years a reputation for their diverse collaborative approach and innovative sustainable outlook which ensures the majority of the pair’s clothes are made from deadstock material...
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has garnered over the past few years a reputation for their diverse collaborative approach and innovative sustainable outlook which ensures the majority of the pair’s clothes are made from deadstock material sourced from a high-end factory in Milan – in resistance to the overconsumption of today’s fashion...
Standing Against Adversity Together
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s...
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s Spring-Summer 21 collection which explores the dichotomy between the essence of human life and its conflicting internal emotions. The collection premiered with a short esoteric film capturing the tragic...
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s Spring-Summer 21 collection which explores the dichotomy between the essence of human life and its conflicting internal emotions. The collection premiered with a short esoteric film capturing the tragic theme of an irrational state of intertwined pain and intoxicating revelry where souls wander in a state...
Time Travelling to Old Glamour at PFW
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand...
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand Ernest W. Baker decided to rely on its heritage. “For a lot of people, us included, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown were a moment of awakening to what is really important. Being away from our loved...
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand Ernest W. Baker decided to rely on its heritage. “For a lot of people, us included, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown were a moment of awakening to what is really important. Being away from our loved ones, or unable to be with them physically really pushed this idea of family,” the designers...
Rave Digital: Ravensbourne Launches Fashion Game on Twitch
By Elisa Carassai
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins...
By Elisa Carassai
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins its digitised alternative, it comes as no surprise that brands have been battling to find ways to stand out from their competitors in the most ingenious ways on various video streaming...
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins its digitised alternative, it comes as no surprise that brands have been battling to find ways to stand out from their competitors in the most ingenious ways on various video streaming platforms.   One of these is Amazon's Twitch, a video-streaming platform that started with gamers and now...
Unconventionality is The Word
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to...
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to premiere an exclusive short video in black and white. “The idea is that you can tell and experience the story in your own way. At your own pace. It’s about going back to making and telling stories,”...
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to premiere an exclusive short video in black and white. “The idea is that you can tell and experience the story in your own way. At your own pace. It’s about going back to making and telling stories,” explained the designer. With this idea of exploration and storytelling in mind, photographer Lewis Ronald...