Wool4School is an annual student design competition that encourages budding fashion designers to show the nation what they’re made of. Open to all Australian school students from years 7 to 12, Wool4School invites students to design an outfit using at least 80 percent wool. The outfit can contain one to four pieces and must show the student’s creative and innovative talent.
This year, Wool4School challenged students to design a garment or outfit that embraces the use of technology to enhance garment performance or function.
Over 100 entries from across Australia were submitted in each year group.
An esteemed panel of judges, including leading Australian fashion designer Jonathan Ward and key industry representatives, carefully assessed each and every submission before eventually deciding on the winners and runners-up.
Each student in our Stage 5 Textiles Technology class entered the competition, as well as a dedicated group of Year 7 and Year 8 students who voluntarily met weekly to work on their submissions throughout Term 2.
Congratulations to all our entrants for their hard work! The following students have been nationally recognised for their talent:
- Skye Netting – Year 9 finalist (1 of 8 national finalists)
- Sahra Middleton – Year 9 national runner up (winning a Frankie magazine subscription)
- Julia Gerritsen – Year 7 national winner (winning $500, a pair of UGG boots and a trophy)
We asked Julia and Sahra to tell us more about the experience and what they learnt from it.
What inspired you to enter the competition?
Julia: I have been designing since I was at least 5 and I used to print out mannequins and draw simple dresses on them. These simple designs started to grow my passion for designing, so when it came to year 7, I had already developed a passion for textiles. I entered the competition because I had been told I was great and that my designs were too. The competition for me was a great way to enhance my skills and have lots of fun.
Who did you design for?
Julia: My design was aimed at a homeless person aged 15+ who finds life difficult because of financial problems and horrible sleeping and weather conditions. I chose to design for this particular person because I had been to Sydney recently and had been walking around the streets seeing lots of homeless people who need our help. When I was handed the student workbook, I thought about them straightaway and went to work.
Sahra: I designed this garment for a young female aged 15-25 who loves travelling and music.
How did you integrate technology?
Julia: In my design, I have incorporated two technology functions that would help my end-user (the homeless person). I used LED lights to ensure they could see in the dead of night. I also incorporated a machine-washable chip so that the user could go to their local laundromat, scan the chip and have one free wash per week.
Sahra: My garment is a long jacket that is perfect to take on hikes because it is waterproof, wind proof and is light which is good for packing. Our design brief was to incorporate technology into the garment. Joint in technology means my end-user could join her love of music, travelling and nature. Wireless headphones are built into the hood and the drawstrings are multi-functional and can be used as a USB charging cable to charge your phone. The headphones can be charged by simply removing them and putting them next to a Qi charger for wireless charging.
What was your favourite part of the competition?
Julia: My favourite part was designing. I have loved to design since I was five years old and it felt amazing. Also, the drawing was really fun—it made the ideas in my head come to life on paper.
Sahra: My favourite part about entering the competition was designing the garment and learning about what an amazing, multifunctional fibre God has created—wool!
What are some things that you found challenging?
Julia: Over the competition, the things I have found challenging have been using the right words to explain the function without making it too lengthy.
What did you learn along the way?
Julia: I learnt a lot about wool, the properties it has and how helpful it is in everyday life.
Sahra: This competition taught me so much about design. Every step, including creating a mood board (inspiration), sketching up the garment and then being able to share my ideas to the judges was an amazing experience.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of entering next year?
Julia: My advice is to be consistent with it. I struggled with balancing assessments and homework with Wool4School, but I kept consistent with it and ended up with this awesome result! I would also suggest not doing everything at the last minute because I did that and it stressed me out a little bit.
Sahra: If you are thinking about entering next year, definitely take part! Joining the competition this year has really made my want to take part again. Wool4School is such an amazing opportunity where you can learn things about fashion design, about the wool industry in Australia and about the different properties of wool.