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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

As the (welcome) rain pounded the historical Deeargee woolshed, the 2023 Fleece to Fashion Awards gala dinner and presentation saw spectacular designs hit the runway.

This is the second year the gala celebration event has been held at Deeargee, with the authentic woolshed proving to be the most perfect backdrop for stunning wool fashion. Prizes were awarded by celebrated judges Akira Isogawa, Jonathon Ward and fashion doyenne Melissa Hoyer, and announced at the event hosted by wool lover Catriona Rowntree.

Self-confessed ‘wool nerd’ Chelsea Mitchell from the Whitehouse Institute of Design took out Supreme Champion, the Developing Designer and an Encouragement Award, and will be off to Italy on an all expenses paid industry immersion program thanks to Australian Wool Innovation. Her fellow students Summer Wanless and Phillipa Signorelli also won encouragement awards.

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The 2023 winners are:

  • Supreme Champion – Chelsea Mitchell
  • Akira Isogawa mentorship – Jun (Michael) Sheung Il 
  • Secondary Schools – Dechen K from Uralla Central School for a Dior inspired evening gown
  • Developing Designer – Chelsea Mitchell with a stunning collection reflecting her love of wool and the great outdoors
  • Special occasion – Judy Bond with an elegant and classic crochet cocktail dress 
  • Inspired menswear – Jack Bartholomeusz with contemporary tailoring in classic materials
  • Wearable Art – Sasha Matteucci with an awe-inspiring musical weaving and accompanying score
  • Global cultures – Alice Pettirosso for her contemporary take on a traditional Slovakian Kurent coat
  • Wool Re-imagined – Amy Macaskill with a three-piece outfit made from wool mill scraps
  • The Wedding Party – Laurel Judd with an incredible knitted fantasy showstopper
  • Most Marketable – Aoibha Doyla with a colourful cut out collection
  • Innovation in Wool – Sasha Matteucci and her remarkable musical woven artwork
  • Encouragement Awards – celebrating three young designers – Chelsea Mitchell, Summer Wanless, Phillipa Signorelli – with vibrant and striking designs in colour rich hues

Fleece to Fashion Chairman and Armidale wool grower Lachlan Fulloon says:

“Connecting the next generation of designers with the New England wool growing community fosters deep appreciation for how farming and fashion can work together to showcase this remarkable fibre and keep it on the world’s catwalks,” said Fleece to Fashion Chairman and Armidale wool grower Lachlan Fulloon.

Running for over 40 years, Fleece to Fashion brings together the farming and fashion communities to celebrate wool with the continued support of local and national sponsors.

Fleece to Fashion is generously supported by:

  • Gold Sponsor: Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)
  • Silver sponsor: ACHMEA Farm Insurance

And a raft of local businesses and wool growers including Roberts & Morrow, Regional Australia Bank, Winterbourne Pastoral, Cressbrook Merinos, Bredal Australia, JM Stephen, Impact Ag, Deeargee and the Sutherland family, and The New England Times.


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