A revolutionary new dyeing process developed by AgResearch, allowing vibrant colouring of wool fabrics which will earn New Zealand millions of dollars is about to be commercialised by a New Zealand based company.
BGI Developments has signed an agreement with AgResearch which will lead to, for the first time, the manufacture of multi-coloured fine wool fabrics, like NZ Merino next-to-skin fabrics, on a major scale, both in this country and overseas.
With Directors in both Wellington and Christchurch, BGI Developments will be working with manufacturers to commercialise the new coloured fine wool fabrics, bringing them to fashion houses around the world.
"These products are a world first in textile and fashion development, and an excellent example of how technology can enhance New Zealand's exports," says Robyn George-Neich (BGI Developments Director).
"The new colouring process developed by AgResearch means that patterns and graphics are dyed in the fabric not just printed on top. The fabric looks and feels better than standard printed fabric, because it doesn't have plastic graphics on it. The consumer benefits because the print doesn't deteriorate over time. The garment feels nicer and looks good for longer. When you are paying a lot of money for your Merino printed top you want the print to last as long as the garment. Now it can.
"It's an amazing development by New Zealand researchers and will revolutionise the way Merino fabric is dyed and printed. Over time this will become the new norm because consumers will demand it. This is a real added value for the wool industry".
The new process has been developed by a small team at AgResearch, Lincoln, under the leadership of textile scientist Dr Stewart Collie. Textile Science and Technology Research has been working intensely for the last eighteen months, recently bringing the new process to successful completion.
The process can also be used on a wide range of fabric weights, enables limitless designs, is lightweight and machine washable.
"What manufacturers and fashion designers really like about this new process is the ability to choose colours and designs just before entering the market. This allows much more flexible marketing of garments, reducing risk for both manufacturer and retailer alike."
Dr Collie says that unlike many other coloured wool products this new all-in-one dyeing process produces a fine wool garment which looks fantastic and feels very pleasant next to the skin.
"Quite frankly it makes wool look and feel sexy," he says enthusiastically. "It's a world away from Fred Dagg's prickly black singlets, and brings brightly coloured dyed wool fashion into the twenty-first century."
Dr Collie says BGI Developments is now contracted to commercialise this new dyeing process with manufacturers both here and overseas. He says this is not something that AgResearch is equipped to do, but expects the result will be significant royalties for the Crown Research Institute as the patented process is adopted internationally.
"Judging by the response of New Zealand fashion designers there's a great deal of interest in manufacturing wool garments with patterns from our specially treated fabric. The reaction has been incredibly positive; I'm very optimistic about its uptake by the industry," he says.
For further information contact:
BGI Developments Ltd
Tel: 04 387 2827 Mob: 021 762 967
Dr Stewart Collie
Team Leader Textile Science and Technology Research
Tel: 03 321 8665 Mob: 021 280 8665