Commercial Partnership Pays Dividends for New Zealand
The revolutionary textile dyeing process is now being commercialised by BGI Development. It enables wool to be dyed two colours at the same time, and graphics and images to be dyed into the fabric. There is no loss of the quality feel of the fabric and the images won't deteriorate over time.
The technology enables designers to use high performance merino in creative ways never before possible, making merino an excellent choice for fashion active wear.
BGI director Robyn George-Neich says that since signing the commercialisation agreement BGI has been working to identify the right company to bring this innovation to the global market.
American company Global Merino has now signed an exclusive worldwide license to produce active wear using the techniques pioneered here.
"Global Merino was the obvious choice as they work with all of the big brands in the active wear market. It is also seen on the world stage as an innovator, and is a company that can make a real impact," says Robyn.
"For the past year we have been working with Global Merino through their commercial trials at their Melbourne facility. The investment of resources in this process was significant but will pay dividends for everyone involved now that it is commercially-proven technology. It is a big step to take innovation from the lab to commercial production."
BGI Director Brent Gregory says, "This is an exciting time as the market is introduced to something revolutionary that will change the way designers work with merino and increase the expectations of consumers.
"It will enable companies to create garments in a premium quality fabric, and with exciting graphics that look and continue to feel just as good as they did the day you brought them."
Global Merino Director Jose Fernandez says that the company has been introducing buyers to the technology at recent American outdoor trade shows, where the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
"This definitely has the wow factor and people genuinely think it is cool technology," he says.
"There's an established and growing market for natural fibres and this process allows more creative dyeing than ever before, merging fashion with function."
The technology was developed within the Textiles team at AgResearch. Science team leader Stewart Collie says that this illustrates the skills and experience of the organisation.
"Technologies such as these are great for getting consumers excited about wool and opening up new markets for it," he says.
"We can also build on our knowledge and experience in working with wool and use it to help create new applications and products."
BGI is now looking for other sectors of the market where this new technology can be applied. The scientists at AgResearch are currently trialling applications on wool in its various forms.
"What is great about this deal is the way all the parties involved have decided to collaborate, each recognising that alone they will not be able to achieve anywhere near the level of success as they can by working together," says Robyn.
Posted April 2, 2013