The Australian Wool Fashion Awards are returning to Armidale

FASHION FIRST IN ARMIDALE: Models Maddi McFadyen, Chloe Thaskway and Miki Wilson at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards announcement in Hanna's Arcade, Armidale on Friday morning. Photo: Simon McCarthy.
FASHION FIRST IN ARMIDALE: Models Maddi McFadyen, Chloe Thaskway and Miki Wilson at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards announcement in Hanna's Arcade, Armidale on Friday morning. Photo: Simon McCarthy.

The Australian Wool Fashion Awards are returning to Armidale.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall announced the news in Hanna’s Arcade on Friday alongside several board members.

“It’s a great pleasure to be making this announcement as this event began as a very small local fashion parade in 1981,” Mr Marshall said.

“Under the stewardship of Liz Foster and her committee, the awards soon grew in importance and are now acknowledged as one of Australia’s major wool fashion design events.”

Over the years judges included high-profile fashion and television personalities including Alexander Perry and Catriona Rowntree.

FASHION FIRST: Maddi McFadyen, Chloe Thackaway and Miki Wilson at the announcement on Friday morning. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

FASHION FIRST: Maddi McFadyen, Chloe Thackaway and Miki Wilson at the announcement on Friday morning. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

Mr Marshall said each year some 400 entrants from all over Australia, and in more recent years New Zealand, UK, USA and Dubai, have competed for prizes worth more than $58,000.

“The awards are designed to showcase the use of merino wool by national and international fashion designers and educate and encourage designer students in the wonderful qualities of wool,” he said.

“Many entrants have gone onto careers in fashion.

Many entrants have gone onto careers in fashion.

Adam Marshall

“The awards are not just for the young, entrants of all ages vie for the prizes and prestige of a win.”

Event board member Liz Foster said the New England was well-known across the nation and the world for the production of wool.

“This will help bring the focus back here,” she said.

For the past three years it has been staged in Tamworth. Now, under the guidance of the board, former Australian Wool Fashion award winners Lucy Vigona and Mary Carter will manage the event.

Judging will be held Friday, July 6 2018 with the Awards Presentation Night to be held Saturday, July 7 at Hanna’s Arcade.