An Australian ethical fashion brand, a fashion manufacturer and woolgrowers who supplied them have been connected in a new traceability partnership through wool broker Fox & Lillie.
Fox & Lillie in 2016 founded their traceable wool program in Australia, Genesys, which is certified under the rigorous Responsible Wool Standard.
Through the program Fox & Lillie connects with fashion and upholstery brands in Australia and internationally, with the latest partnership connecting circular fashion label, A.BCH, bespoke knit fabric designer and manufacturer, MTK Australia, and woolgrowers Mark and Fenella Ritchie.
A recent visit to the Ritchies at Delatite Station in Mansfield, Victoria, through Fox & Lillie's Genesys program, proved a learning opportunity for all parties.
Delatite Station was one of the farms who supplied wool for A.BCH's thermal woollen garments and label founder Courtney Holm said she was inspired by the visit.
"There's nothing quite like visiting the birth place of these fibres to understand how our garments came to be," she said.
"The origin of a fibre is so important to me and for A.BCH and our customers, so having the opportunity to visit Delatite Station and learn about their practices and passion for responsible wool farming was nothing short of magical and educational."
Delatite Station's Mark Ritchie said the connection with a brand on the other end of the supply chain was the missing piece of the jigsaw.
"I was just amazed at the passion they have about what they do and their focus on sustainability," Mr Ritchie said.
"We've been involved with Genesys since it started.
"We feel like the Responsible Wool Standard is going to be the gold standard in terms of accreditation."
Mr Ritchie said they made the switch away from mulesing five years ago, a move that required a lot of hard work but was designed with market demand in mind.
"We've very much learnt as we've gone along," he said.
"It meant we changed our management plan and our overall system."
The Ritchies shear between 18,000 to 20,000 sheep a year, with all their wool going through the Genesys program.
Fox & Lillie Rural's national wool brokerage manager Eamon Timms said the company was constantly endeavouring to deliver these kind of opportunities for woolgrowers and also provide suitable connections for downstream wool users.
"We look forward to more positive outcomes in the future as more members of the supply chain come together and work collaboratively," he said.
The Genesys program has grown to include more than 100 woolgrowers from across Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, Queensland and South Australia.