A boutique clothing brand that creates pieces using solely Australian wool is celebrating its 15th year in business by encouraging consumers to support the local wool industry.
The Forbes, NSW-based company started in 2005 in a small home office with all production outsourced, and now has multiple offices, a shopfront, warehouse and sewing rooms, where all of the cutting and sewing takes place.
Woolerina was founded by Warwick Rolfe, who had a passion for Merino wool and a desire to see the fibre taken directly from the sheep's back in a paddock through to a finished item of clothing.
And Mr Rolfe's daughter Penny Rout, who works for the company too, said that was still the ethos of Woolerina today.
"We're proud to be a small business, and hands on with every aspect," Ms Rout said.
"The Woolerina ethos is one of quality production done not only in Australia, but in regional Australia."
Using a very tight set of specifications, each year Mr Rolfe personally selects the Merino wool used in Woolerina's collection.
This raw fibre is then closely followed through processing, knitting, dying, cutting and sewing.
"After our fabrics are knitted and dyed in Melbourne, they are returned to Forbes as beautifully coloured rolls of fabric," Ms Rout said.
"Here, our production staff of three design, cut and construct each garment."
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Ms Rout said transparency was something Woolerina prided itself on and she encouraged consumers to think about where their clothing came from.
"We are proud to answer the consumer question 'who made my clothes?', as we work hard to ensure that our products are produced in a transparent and ethical way, from the treatment of the sheep, to the treatment of our workers involved in the manufacturing of each individual garment," she said.
"Each person, or animal, involved in the Woolerina process plays an important part in bringing our dream, of taking Merino wool directly off-farm through to finished article of clothing, to life."
She said consumers needed to 'vote with their feet'.
"Choose clothing from brands that are happy to share their workforce with you, from brands that choose local manufacturing, from brands that choose to be accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia," she said.
"And don't be afraid to ask your favourite brands 'who made my clothes?'"
As part of a brand refresh in its 15th year, the swing tag on every garment of clothing coming through the Woolerina sewing room is now personally signed by the maker who finished the garment.
"We feel that this really humanises the process and makes the consumer fully aware that these products are made by real people," she said.
She said Woolerina was accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia and the Australian Made Campaign.
"We were recently re-accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia for the eighth year running," she said.
"We are very proud to be part of this voluntary accreditation system as we believe the greatest products come from treating everyone involved fairly and respectfully.
"It is up to us to make choices in our manufacturing process to ensure that our workers enjoy a safe, fair workplace."
The story Woolerina encouraging consumers to buy sustainably first appeared on Farm Online.