Fleece to Fashion Awards

Fleece to Fashion Awards Wool Woolerina young witness

Local fashion designer picked up three wins at Fleece to Fashion Awards

A local fashion designer and shop owner from Young picked herself up a trifecta of wins at the recent Fleece to Fashion Awards in Armidale.

Samantha Stolhand and three of her designs were awarded first prize in separate sections at the awards that included active-wear, fantasy-wear and evening-wear.

Samantha's entry in the active-wear section was drape style yoga pants with a bat-wing top and neck gator. According to Sam the outfit showcased the versatility of wool in its ability to drape, breath and move with the body.

"Wool is becoming a choice fibre in this industry and has a strong future," Sam said.

The fantasy-wear section had the theme of 'Dream Big' with Sam's creation inspired by a dream catcher.

"I have been wanting to try jersey cutting for a while," she said. "It is a technique where you cut and twist a jersey cloth to form cutout features."

According to Sam it is also a handy technique to repurpose clothing so it can live on.

 For the evening-wear section Sam designed and produced a stunning gown.

"The evening-wear gown was all the about shape, drape and movement of the fishtail design which featured one sleeve and a draped neckline with tassel trim," she said.

"The highlight of this dress is the ultimate wool jersey fabric sourced from Woolerina in Forbes.

"This (Woolerina) is where Warwick Rolfe handpicks each batch of wool to ensure that the finished fabric is the highest quality possible."

Warwick Rolfe is the owner of Woolerina in Forbes and Sam attributes her success to him and his business.

"It is due to generosity of such entrepreneurs that makes it possible for designers to excel," she said.

"The fleece to fashion awards celebrates wool in all its forms and promotes Australian designers and Australian merino wool producers," Ms Stolhand explained.

Each year there is an underlying theme to the awards with this year's theme focused on sustainability.

"[It] encourages designers to consider garment lifespan and multipurpose as well as waste minimalisation and environmental effects," Sam said.

"More than ever in our drought stricken climate it is important for wool designs to have long term value and purpose."

Locals can check out Sam's designs and much more at her shop on 77 Main Street, Young where she showcases and sells country style clothing for the women of the region in her boutique.