Turning natural fibres into wearable art at Henty awards

August 21, 2015

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Vanessa Taylor, of Holbrook, models the overall winning garment in the 2014 Henty Natural Fashion Fibre Awards designed by Judy Bond, Mildura.

Designers with a flair for converting natural fibres into wearable art will compete for $3500 worth of prizes this year.

The 12th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards will showcase designers who have created garments containing at least 70 per cent natural fibres.

For the first time, the awards have drawn international entries from New Zealand and India.

Open to amateurs and professionals, the awards recognise the innovative use of natural fibres – from paddock to catwalk – in creative but wearable clothing.

Awards organiser Lyn Jacobsen said the natural fibres could include wool, alpaca, angora, mohair, cashmere, cotton, silk and linen.

“In the past we have even had entries made from bamboo – as long as the entry contains 70 per cent natural fibres, it is eligible,’’ Mrs Jacobsen said.

“I believe the awards well and truly arrived in 2012, with the winner going on to take out the Australian Wool Fashion Awards.’’

That year, Deniliquin designer Jane Frazer used Wool Charne, an innovative fabric made from unmulesed wool, to create a stunning pleated, full-length evening gown.

Prizemoney of $2000 is offered for the best garment in natural fibre with $500 each for the best knitted or crotched garment, accessory and millinery item.

Bernina and Julia’s Fabric Boutique, Wodonga, have donated a Bernina Activa 125 sewing machine as the encouragement award for the best garment by a student designer.

The judging emphasis is on visual appeal, creative and innovative use of the fibres.

Award entries will be modelled each day of the field days, with the winners announced about 1pm on the Thursday.

Albury-based wool program leader of the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre, David Tester, will return as a judge, to be joined by Wagga designer and retailer Mandy Inglis, and former Golden Gowns Award winner Colleen Smith, of Lockhart, with Anna Dennis, of Colligullie, as compere.

Year 10 students at Culcairn’s Billabong High School will model the entries, with their hair styled by Wodonga TAFE on Tuesday and Riverina Community College on Wednesday and Thursday.

Beautician and Arbone distributor Ellen Humbert will do the models’ makeup.