AFTER 33 years showcasing some of the nation’s finest woollen designs at Armidale, the Australian Wool Fashion Awards will now call Tamworth home.
The awards started out as a small local fashion parade in 1981 but soon grew in importance and are now acknowledged as one of Australia’s major wool fashion design events.
Tamworth-based Country Living Group has acquired the rights to the awards and plans to inject new life into the event, which has waned in popularity in recent years.
Veteran wool awards organiser Liz Foster will stay on board as a valued consultant.
She said the change of management would propel the event to another level and with that in mind, a bigger stage was called for.
“We have outgrown Armidale, to put it nicely,” Ms Foster said.
“I’m very happy the future of the awards is secure.”
Normally held in March, the awards will also shift to a later time slot, with the presentation night to be held at the Tamworth Town Hall on Friday, July 18.
New categories – wool accessories and homewares – have been added to expand the competition and encourage more entrants.
Existing models and helpers will remain with the new company, head of Country Living Group Jason Farr said, adding all new models will be sourced from both Armidale and Tamworth.
Each year some 400 entrants from all over Australia, and in more recent year New Zealand, UK, USA and Dubai, compete for award prizes worth over $58,000.
Judges of the prestigious event have included many notable fashion personalities such as Alex Perry, George Gross, Deborah Hutton, and more recently Josephine Nathan, Bonny Lythgoe, Faye De Lanty, Peter Everett and Adrian Erdedi.