Deeargee hosts 2022 Fleece to Fashion gala

Deeargee Station near Uralla, NSW, lit up its iconic octagonally-shaped woolshed last month for the Fleece to Fashion Gala Awards night, welcoming 350 black-tie clad patrons through the gates and into the pens to witness a unique wool fashion parade featuring emerging designers.

Based in the New England region of NSW, the Fleece to Fashion Awards is an annual competition that promotes the unique, versatile and sustainable qualities of Merino wool, while celebrating upcoming fashion designers from across Australia who embrace the fibre in their collections.

The Awards are run by Fleece to Fashion, a community based not for profit company that aims to educate and inspire the next generations of designers to continue to experiment and explore the many qualities Merino wool has to offer.

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The unique woolshed of Deeargee Station at Uralla hosted this year’s Fleece to Fashion Awards. PHOTO: David Waugh

This year’s Fleece to Fashion Awards was supported by AWI along with other wool industry sponsors, plus fashion brands that use Merino wool in their collections, including M.J. Bale, Iris & Wool, EMU Australia, Lady Kate, and Akira.

Located in the New England hills behind the township of Uralla, Deeargee Station played host to this year’s Fleece to Fashion matinee show and the Gala Awards night. Deeargee is known for producing some of Australia’s finest wool and is home to a unique, octagonally-shaped woolshed built in 1872.

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The outfit – comprising pant-suit, cape and clouche hat – made entirely from Australian Merino wool that won the Supreme Award for local teenage talent Dechen Kandro. “I took my inspiration for the pant-suit from Chanel but I wanted to make something that could be dressed up for a special occasion or be worn on an everyday basis,” she said. PHOTO: Damien Gosson

Fleece to Fashion board director and local woolgrower Liz Foster says this year’s event was a hugely successful gathering for wool producers, fashion designers, the New England community, and wool industry stakeholders.

“The Deeargee Woolshed all lit up for our gala event was truly something to behold,” Mrs Foster said.

“We had a bold vision to literally deliver the concept of ‘fleece to fashion’ in its purest form and thanks to the Sutherland family, owners of Deeargee Station, who allowed us to open their shed to the public for the Awards, the entire production was a tremendous showcase of wool, fashion, in an iconic venue in our local area.”

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Supreme Award winner Dechen Kandro with the judges of the 2022 Awards: Australian fashion icon Akira Isogawa, fashion journalist and media personality Melissa Hoyer (who was also the Master of Ceremonies), and former designer for RM Williams and Country Road Jonathan Ward. PHOTO: Damien Gosson

There were eight categories in this year’s awards: Secondary School, Emerging Designer, Sportswear, Wearable Art, Diversity in Wool, Race Wear, Evening Wear, and Bridal Wear. As well as awards for each category, there was also a Most Marketable Award and an Innovation Award, plus the Supreme Award which was won by local teenage talent Dechen Kandro of Uralla State School, who said Merino wool is a “very special fibre” to work with. In addition, a bespoke design internship was presented by Australian fashion icon Akira Isokawa.

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