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Woolmark Now Educating Fashion Insiders on Sustainable, Circular Design

A new educational curriculum is designed to give industry stakeholders insights into how to use wool more sustainably across product lines, and promote a more ecologically conscious supply chain for the material.

Australia’s The Woolmark Company has launched an online education course designed for brands, designers, manufacturers and fashion students led by industry experts, academics and scientists, with a focus on sustainable development and circular design.

The free course, which lives on the organization’s digital Woolmark Learning Centre microsite, provides an introduction into concepts, frameworks and strategies surrounding regenerative agriculture and manufacturing processes that can reduce environmental impacts from the animal-derived fiber. Eco-Age founder Livia Firth, The Wardrobe Crisis author Clare Press, Royal College of Art lecturer Charles Ross, Everledger founder Leanne Kemp, Integrity Ag’s Dr. Stephen Wiedemann, and regenerative agriculture expert Dr. Charles Massy will lead discussions about the challenges and opportunities stemming from the use of wool across fashion and lifestyle products.

“This course explores the key issues and questions relating to sustainable development, legislation, collaborative global goals, and ways to measure and manage our impacts on people and planet,” Firth said, adding that the industry should “responsibly work within the planet’s boundaries,” and “respect and protect the people throughout global supply chains.”

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Julie Davies, Woolmark’s general manager for processing innovation and education extension, said that the course will help creators leave behind a more positive legacy with their work. “With 80 percent of the overall impact of a garment defined by the design stage, this course will equip designers and brands with access to information about how they can use wool to meet sustainable development targets and align to sustainability commitments,” she said. And in completing the  course, students will be awarded an independent certification from Credly, which can be included on their digital CVs and resumes.

“Learners will gain an understanding of sustainability grounded in science and be introduced to the knowledge and tools that will help build resilient businesses during this dynamic, complex time,” Davies said.

Woolmark said its three-year-old Learning Centre is garnering increased interest from industry professionals aiming to understand both the high-level theory and the practical commercial innovations that could optimize their work with wool. Since the virtual platform launched in 2019, 60,000 students from across the textile supply chain have taken part in available courses from fashion and design to fundamentals of wool.

Last month, the organization announced the winners of its Woolmark Performance Challenge. The incubation program fosters the development of the next generation of industry leaders, highlighting groundbreaking ideas that could evolve the garment industry. Together with On Running and Italian skiwear brand Salewa, Woolmark chose prize winners and finalists in the fields of high-performance and thermoregulating material innovations.