Turning natural fibres into wearable art at Henty awards

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The award winning garments in the 2015 Natural Fibre Fashion Awards modelled by Nakita Singe, Phoebe Crilly, Olivia Lieschke, Imogen Young and Ally Schulz.

Designers with a flair for converting natural fibres into wearable art will compete for almost $6000 worth of prizes this year.

The 13th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards will showcase designers who have created garments containing at least 70 per cent natural fibres.

Last year, the awards expanded across international boundaries with entries from New Zealand for the first time.

The 2015 supreme garment was a fluted wool denim dress with a lace bodice entered by Deniliquin designer Jane Frazer.

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

Fashion designers will vie for the chance to win a Bernina B350PE sewing machine valued at $2199 plus $1000 cash prize money for the supreme garment made of natural fibres.

Prizemoney of $500 each is offered 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 entry-level machine has a personal memory, built-in needle threader, a manual multi-step buttonhole and 11 of the most important stitch types.

The LCD display provides a constant overview of the most important information such as presser foot, stitch width and length.

Student designers are also eligible to win the major prize.

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 Peta Schaefer, of Albury, as compere.

Year 10 students at Culcairn’s Billabong High School will model the entries with hair styling by Belinda Pifffero and Wendy Percy, Wagga, and makeup by Arbonne Distributors.

Award winning New Zealand fibre artist Laurel Judd will set the catwalk abuzz again this year as an international entrant in the awards.

Ms Judd is a renowned knitwear designer and fibre artist who has won the supreme award at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards, and showcased her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week.

She uses machine knitting, unusual stitching techniques, felting, handcrafted buttons and embellishments to create innovative designer originals.

Last year she entered a long evening gown made from knitted Merino and a felted race wear ensemble.