Last Friday the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) welcomed the patron of the global Campaign for Wool, HRH Prince of Wales, in a meet and great with some of Australia’s top fashion designers. Wearing a double breasted Australian Merino suit by UK tailors Anderson & Sheppard, Prince Charles took the time to meet the AWI team and Akira Isogawa, Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Kym Ellery and Camilla Freeman-Topper of Camilla and Marc.
With some of their Australian Merino Wool designs on hand, they showed off their pieces to Prince Charles in an intimate setting at the Museum of Contemporary Art with some very special guests in attendance: three North Ashrose Merino sheep and a bottle-fed lamb from South Australia who grazed on the balcony overlooking Sydney’s famous harbour.
With such an honourable guest in attendance, the room was under heavy security lockdown but we did speak with Akira Isogawa and Camilla Freeman-Topper of Camilla and Marc after their meeting with Prince Charles and posed a few questions about their meet and greet.
What was it like to meet Prince Charles?
Akira: He was warm and genuinely interested in supporting the Australian Wool industry. We all felt completely at ease to relate to him.
Camilla Freeman-Topper: It was an exciting experience, obviously meeting the potential future King of England is one thing but I didn’t expect Prince Charles to be so charming and charismatic, he was very funny and self-deprecating.
What did you speak about? Did they complement your designs or give you any tips?
Akira: We spoke about Wool in fashion and home furnishings. He wanted to know how I use wool creatively. He liked the sheep bag.
Camilla Freeman Topper: He did compliment us on our design and said that he liked it very much, and mentioned that it’s probably not the most appropriate weather (being 28 degrees) for the model to be wearing such warm woollen pieces and that she was doing a very good job in the heat (the cable knit jumper was made with a heavy Australian merino wool and the skirt was made from even heavier coating wool). He then pointed to himself commenting that it was indeed rather warm for him to be wearing his 100% Australian wool suit and perhaps it wasn’t appropriate either.
How important is it to you that you use Australian Merino Wool in your designs?
Akira: It is important to use Wool not only because of my commitment to Australian produced product, but its quality.
Camilla Freeman-Topper: We have used Australian wool for CAMILLA AND MARC since our very first collection almost 10 years ago. We love to work with wool because it serves many functions especially when we are soft draping or working on something sculptural and tailored. It is wonderfully versatile as well because it comes in so many different forms of qualities. From light weight almost sheer jerseys, medium weight suiting and ponti all the way to a heavy coating weights.
The Australian Wool Industry has been a big supporter of Australian fashion design talent over the years and the support from the Prince just further shows his support for the campaign which aims to educate consumers about the benefits of wool and promote wool-predominant products to an international audience.
“We are very pleased to be given this opportunity to meet with HRH Prince of Wales and present some of our important Campaign for Wool partners,” explained Stuart McCullough, AWI CEO. “With the support and endorsement of it patron, the global Campaign for Wool continues to connect to consumers around the world highlighting the benefits of wool in apparel and interiors.”
During his visit to Australia, Prince Charles also took the time to tour a sheep property near Sorrell in Tasmania where HRH The Prince of Wales met with woolgrowers, helped muster sheep and discussed the shearing of fine wool Merinos in a fitting celebration of the production of the natural fibre.
Watch the video below and find out more about the Campaign for Wool on the official website.