Turning natural fibres into wearable art at Henty awards

Mollie O’Halloran, Alyce Parker, Greta Mackinlay, Nessa Liston and Olivia Hall model the winning garments in the 2016 Henty Natural Fibres Fashion Awards.

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

The 14th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards will showcase designers who have created garments containing at least 70 per cent natural fibres.

Last year, the award winners expanded across international boundaries with the supreme entry from New Zealand for the first time.

The supreme garment was a fitted and backless machine knitted in fine Merino yarn with silver lurex highlights entered by Laurel Judd.

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.’’

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.

Fox & Lillie Rural has donated $500 to the winner of the best knitted or crocheted garment.

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 after the 1pm parade 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 Sydney designer and retailer, Roxanne Cooper, and CWA Sturt Group Secretary and former textiles and design teacher, Beryl Brain, with Peta Schaefer, of Albury, as compere.

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