2017 Congress

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Wool in a Digital Age

Telling Wool's Timeless Story at IWTO Congress 2017

Bringing together 250+ wool industry professionals from around the world, representing all stages of the wool pipeline and including 20+ Young Professionals, the IWTO Congress concluded Friday, 5 May in Harrogate.

Harris Tweed Hebrides Chairman Brian Wilson opened the event, encouraging the industry to stick to the principles of quality and integrity while continuing to tell the stories that show what makes wool an incomparable fibre.

GQ's Style Shrink Robert Johnston, along with Premiere Vision's Camille Serrain and The Woolmark Companys Damien Madden, tackled the theme of Wool in a Digital Age, exploring the effects of digitalisation on wool textile sales and marketing.

Representatives from Benetton, Patagonia and Devold shared their experiences in using wool as a key ingredient in their brands.

Further sessions on market trends, innovations and technology, British wool farming, wool recycling, wool in interiors and more formed the basis of networking, dialogue and exchange.

Download the Media Release.

Video: IWTO Congress delegates on wool's global relevance. CLick on the link or view here:


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The Young Professionals Programme at the 86th IWTO Congress  

The Young Professional Programme continues to be a successful component of the annual IWTO Congress and the 86th Congress in Harrogate was no exception.

IWTO hosted 20+ Young Professionals from around the world from a diverse array of backgrounds and areas of expertise along the wool supply chain. The group participated in the informative Congress sessions over the course of the three days, helping them better understand all stages of the wool pipeline.

In addition to the conference sessions, a welcome dinner and afternoon tea with the President gave the goup further opportunities to network within the heart of the global wool industry.

The Programme was proud to include two of the NCWSBA 2016 Wool Broker Award finalists this year, Dale Bruns of Australian Wool Network and Rob Calvert of Roberts Ltd.

One of the things that makes the Programme an invaluable experience is its mentoring component. IWTO matches each Young Professional with a Mentor, to assist and advise them throughout the event and help them gain the most from it. IWTO thanks this years Mentors who gave so freely of their time and expertise:

From Australia

Michael De Kleuver, Ruralco - South Australia

Don Macdonald, Don Macdonald & Co Woolbrokers

Stuart McCullough, Australian Wool Innovation

Chris Wilcox, National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia

From Germany

Goetz Giebel, Goetz Giebel

Elisabeth van Delden, Elisabeth van Delden

From New Zealand

Monica Ebert, NZ Merino (and Young Professional Team Leader)

From South Africa

Olivier Segard, Segard Masurel South Africa

Isak Staats, BKB Ltd

From the United Kingdom

Lesley Prior, Bowmont Merino

From the United States

Michael Martin, Anodyne Inc

Barry Savage, American Sheep Industry Association



The 86th IWTO Congress is made possible through the generous support of our partners and sponsors.












Outlook and Trends in Wool

(Organised by the Market Intelligence Committee)

Offering insight into wool production trends and the drivers of demand along the wool pipeline, the Market Intelligence Forum explores the highlights of the 2015/16 season along with implications for the short and long term.

1. Chris Wilcox, Market Intelligence Committee Chair – A Tale of Two Markets: Merino versus Broad Wool
2. Joe Farren, CEO, British Wool Marketing Board – The Outlook for British Wool
3. Dr. Christian Schindler, Director General, International Textile Manufacturers Federation – Investment Trends in the Global Textile Industry
4. Madame Yang Xiaoxiong, Chair, Nanjing Wool Market – The Supply and Demand of China Wool Industry

Speaking to the Next Generation

1. Sam Wharry, Chairman, National Sheep Association UK – Encouraging the Next Generation of UK Sheep Farmers
2. Lesley Prior, Farmer & Owner, Bowmont, UK – Back to the Future –Growing Merino Wool in the UK
3. Lorenzo Dovesi, COO, Benetton Group – Trending Wool in Benetton

1. Stephen Wiedemann, Chair of the IWTO Sustainable Practices Working Group LCA TAG – Quantifying Our Practices for Wool
2. Michael Jackson, Managing Director, AWTA – Digital Traceability Reports
3. Prof. Stephen Russell, University of Leeds – Trends in Wool Recycling
4. Nick Allen, Traceability Manager, Patagonia – Patagonia’s Wool Journey

Speakers from the worlds of trade fairs, fashion and wool address the impact of digitalisation on the wool textile pipeline.

1. Robert Johnston, Fashion Director and Style Shrink, GQ Magazine
2. Camille Serain, Chief Digital Officer, Première Vision
3. Damian Madden, Global Digital Engagement Manager, The Woolmark Company – Artificial Intelligence: Helping to Promote Wool in a Digital Environment

1. Dr Graham Ormondroyd, Head of Materials Research, Bangor University – Wool Interiors
2. Florian Krommer, WOOPIES by Baur Vliesstoffe – Wool Improves Air Quality in Hospitality Applications
3. Lorna Haigh, Head of Creative and Marketing, Alternative Flooring – Putting the Wool Back into Carpets

1. Angus Ireland, Chair, IWTO Product Wellness Working Group – The Benefits of Wool-on-Skin
2. Janne Strømmen, Marketing Manager, Devold – Wool Triumphs in Activewear

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