Apparel Wool, Meat for a Feast

Dohne Breeders see Potential to Market to Leading Global Brands


“Well grown Dohne wool is keenly sought after in the market and well recognised for its performance in processing.”

THE CHARACTERISTICS of Dohne sheep lend well to meeting the growing demand for non-mulesed practices, presenting opportunities for Dohne woolgrowers to take advantage of accreditation schemes in order to differentiate their wool in the marketplace.

One such accreditation program is the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), which was developed in 2016 by a not-for-profit organisation called Textile Exchange and backed by some of the world’s leading fashion brands such as Burberry, Patagonia, and Kathmandu. The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is a global, independent and voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on.

Sheep Wool Brokers and Buyers, Fox & Lillie Rural, have established the largest Australian farm group of woolgrowers accredited under the RWS and believe that the barebreached and plain-bodied Dohne, when combined with relevant management practices, is well positioned to meet the requirements of the RWS and consumers seeking out this greater level of traceability and transparency.

Fox & Lillie’s Eastern Riverina Branch Manager, Jenni Turner, has seen the market for RWS wool grow as consumer demand for ethical and traceable products increase.

“The Responsible Wool Standard provides an excellent marketing option for Dohne producers who are able to meet the accreditation and wish to direct their wool into leading global brands.” said Jenni.

One of the relationships that developed from Fox & Lillie’s RWS program, has been with American clothing brand Eileen Fisher, who were one of the first brands to introduce RWS certified wool into their supply chain.

A representative from Eileen Fisher was in Australia earlier this year to meet members of Fox & Lillie’s farm group and increase their knowledge about Australian wool production.

“Fox & Lillie’s brokerage, export and processing capabilities positions our company in a unique position to provide a greater level of transparency and traceability in the supply chain which has allowed us to connect with brands such as Eileen Fisher.” said Jenni.

“Eileen Fisher’s recent tour to Australia was a welcome opportunity for woolgrowers to share their knowledge and management practices with an end user and to get instant feedback on their wool.”

Eileen Fisher’s upcoming Fall collection of boiled wool garments will contain wool supplied directly from Fox & Lillie, with the majority sourced from members of Fox & Lillie’s farm group, some of whom are Australian Dohne woolgrowers.

As consumers become more ethically responsible, there is a growing potential for RWS to be a key selling point within the wool industry as well as opening up marketing opportunities for

The hardy Dohne sheep have characteristics such as high fertility rates and free growing wool which give the breed great prospects for producing a high-quality fibre which can be directed into RWS orders.

Being a robust sheep, even under the harshest of conditions, the Dohne sheep perform desirably for producers of non-mulesed wool.

“I encourage Dohne breeders to see the potential for their wool to be marketed to leading global brands. The Dohne product is highly suited to meet the RWS certification to access these growing alternative markets”

Eamon Timms, Don Mills, Karen Mills and Jenni Turner.

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