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An Industry Trade Exhibition and Conference for everyone involved with Fabrics, Components, Equipment and Services For further information contact Ana Drougas or Kiah Struck on 03 9521 2114 or email


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STA NEWS Report from incoming president, David Burton.




Reports from the Fabric Structures, Marine Fabricators, Women in Textiles and Editorial committees.

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NEWS When Tom met Tony: how the STA’s outgoing president managed a one-on-one with the Prime Minister of Australia. The EH Brett team meets MP Craig Kelly and Mayor Ned Mannoun. Uniline’s acquisition of Bradmill Outdoor Fabrics falls through. Mike Fisher joins HVG Fabrics. Miami Stainless has a new Victorian contact. The Shann Group begins a new partnership with Hagihara. Ricky Richards introduces its new logo and company vision. Mermet joins forces with Bricos.


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John Nelson investigates an amazing textile from Hungary that uses electricity to change colour on demand.

SME FOCUS Vivienne Forbes explains how social media can benefit your business.

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Conference wrap-up


Wax Converters mill tour Photo gallery

MEMBER PROFILE Connie Hellyar talks to industry veteran Frank Hammond.

SPECIAL FEATURE Marine graphics – Dara Syrkin investigates trends and options for marine fabricators, while three members of the local industry discuss the Australian approach.

BUSINESS Daniel Halse on the little known phenomenon of co-opertition.

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INDUSTRY TRAINING A report on the first marine fabricators’ workshop hosted by David’s Custom Trimmers in Brisbane.

Textiles in the Vines


SPECIAL FEATURE Colour trends – Kim Chadwick from Colourways explains how fabric and textile colours evolve, while Melissa Vine reports how she applied what she learned in a Colourways workshop to her work at The Shann Group.


EVENTS Upcoming events for the specialised textiles industry, locally and internationally.



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Welcome to the Spring issue of Connections


his is our second edition in our new format and we hope that you’ve had a chance to have a good look at the previous issue and note the changes. Remember, this is your magazine, about your industry. And we want it to reflect your interests and concerns. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you do and don’t like about the magazine. And if there are topics you’d like to see covered or areas you feel need investigating, please let us know. Your feedback is invaluable to us. Of course in late May and early June we had a wonderful opportunity to give each other feedback about the industry at the annual conference – this year entitled Textiles in the Vines. And what an enjoyable and successful event it was. With informative and lively sessions, and a nicely laid out and well-planned expo, there was plenty to inspire and educate us about the business. The conference was also a great chance to network though and to celebrate all that’s good about the specialised textiles industry. I’m sure all who attended will agree that Sam Kekovich made a suitably droll and irreverent host at both the Industry Breakfast and, particularly, the Gala Dinner and Awards Night, where the delicious food had to vie with a great entertainment line-up for our attention. If you were among the crowd kicking up your heels at the conference’s social events, you may like to check out the gallery on page 26, 27 and 42 and see if you can spot yourself or your colleagues. Maybe you or your company were among those honoured during the Awards? We have full listings of all the award-winners and special commendations from page 30. For me personally, though, the highlight of the conference was the tour of the Kelman family’s Wax Converters factory. Opening their business to busloads of fascinated industry members and lay folk or ignorant gawkers (that’d be me), James and Jim Kelman couldn’t have been more hospitable. Or more interesting. An account of the tour is on page 40. Also in this issue, we focus on colours and trends in the industry. What will your awnings and blinds look like over the coming year? Products and industry wise, we’re spotlighting the marine section of the industry, the sail-makers, along with textile fittings for boats, blinds and awnings. Accordingly our Industry Training feature on page 56 of this issue reports on the marine fabricators’ workshop held in at David’s Custom Trimmers in Brisbane earlier in the year. There’s also an enjoyable account of the time that our past president Tom Gastin managed to get in the ear of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and some business tips from both social media guru Vivienne Forbes and Pattons director, Daniel Halse, who explains the concept of co-opertition. And no, that’s not a typo… Madeleine Swain Editor

NEXT ISSUE OF CONNECTIONS In the Summer issue of Connections, we’ll be looking at design and innovation in the specialised textiles industry. Our industry focus will be on shade sails, print media and outdoor recreation. Considering entering the ‘glamping’ market? Or already well-ensconced? This one’s for you… If you have ideas and suggestions for possible content in future issues of the magazine, don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us know. You can contact the STA on 9521 2114 or visit Or you can contact the editor directly on


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Editorial Contributions by the STA Editorial committee ASSOCIATION MANAGER Ana Drougas MARKETING & EVENTS COORDINATOR Kiah Struck EDITOR Madeleine Swain Design ART DIRECTOR Keely Atkins PRODUCTION MANAGER Sonia Salera


Connections magazine is published on behalf of the Specialised Textiles Association Inc by Niche Media Pty Ltd ABN 13 064 613 529 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Vic 3205 Tel: 03 9948 4900 / Fax 03 9948 4999 Printing Webstar Print Cover image Frank Hammond












Specialised Textiles Association 201/22 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda Vic 3182 Tel: 03 9521 2114 / Fax: 03 9521 2116 Email: All unsolicited material should be addressed to the attention of the editor at the address above. Material will only be returned if a postage prepaid self-addressed envelope is supplied. Niche Media Pty Ltd accepts no liability for loss or damage of unsolicited material. Connections is a publication of Niche Media Pty Ltd, ABN 13 064 613 529, 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne Vic 3205 Australia, tel +613 9948 4900, fax +613 9948 4999. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, internet, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication. The opinions and material published in this publication are not necessarily endorsed by the editor, publisher or Niche Media Pty Ltd, unless where specifically stated.

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President’s report


feel very privileged to have the opportunity to represent this great association as president over the next 12 months. I would like to thank everyone in the industry for the continued support and I will be endeavouring to follow in the footsteps of our previous presidents in the great job they all have done. First, I would like to thank Tom Gastin, our past president, for his commitment to the association over the last three years, and his successful term as president. A great way of measuring someone’s success is when they leave the position in a better position than when they arrived. This is definitely the case for Tom. I would also like to welcome our new Council of Management member, Beatrice Moonen, who I am sure will be a great asset to the association and the Council of Management. Also, I thank the rest of the council – Glenn Barlow, Connie Hellyar, Jamie Howard and Daniel Gollan – and look forward to a successful year ahead. For those of you who didn’t attend the recent conference in the Hunter Valley, you won’t have had the chance to meet our new staff member in the office. I would like to welcome Kiah Struck officially to STA and ask that you all welcome her in her new position of marketing and events coordinator. I know she will also be a great asset to our association. We definitely have a full year ahead of us with many exciting projects on the way. Some of these are the 75th anniversary year of the association, concluding with the Melbourne Expo in 2015, the completion of the accreditation program and the ongoing state members’ reformat meetings. For me personally, I hope to have the chance to talk to as many members of the industry as possible over the next 12 months to get more of an insight into the challenges facing our industry and see how our association can further help you and your businesses. I encourage you to call or email me and would be happy to assist where possible. The STA will continue to provide updates on industry news via our email newsletter and it is always worth taking the time to read it. So, if you’re not already a subscriber, why not consider becoming one? Further information on our strategy for the next year will be circulated shortly after our first board meeting. David Burton – President


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COMMITTEE NEWS The STA would not be able to represent, service and inform the specialised textiles industry as well as it does without the sterling work and support of its individual committees. Here we hear from three of them – Women in Textiles, Marine Fabricators and Fabric Structures – about what’s been happening in the middle part of 2014.

WOMEN IN TEXTILES COMMITTEE What a year! The STA Conference was the crowning glory for the Women In Textiles’ inaugural year, where I had the honour of presenting our first award to a very worthy nominee in Beatrice Moonen. Beatrice has been in the industry for so many years and is such an extraordinary example of what women are doing to make a difference in helping to grow our industry. Our emcee Sam Kekovich was an enormous help in auctioning off our fantastic Weekend Ferrari Drive, which netted Ovarian Cancer $2000 at the awards night. I’m sure we would never have reached that target had it not been for his irreverent banter, and his constant humorous attacks on our members’ egos to get the bidding up. The Cowboy Boots and Red Shoes event the following evening also upped the donations, where we ran a silent auction with some pretty amazing items on offer. The WiTs are pleased to say that in one year you all managed to help raise over $6000 for Ovarian Cancer Australia. Well done and thank you all so much. We now have another enthusiastic member on our committee, Michelle Downie from Skyspan in Brisbane. Michelle has some amazing ideas for fundraising, so be prepared. Clare, Rosemary, Carmen, Ruwini, Michelle and I are looking forward to another great year, but we need all of you to help support the initiative of recognising and rewarding the women in your company that make a difference. Please visit the STA website and start nominating your staff member for next year’s award. It’s never too early to get your nominations in. Connie Hellyar Chairperson

FABRIC STRUCTURES COMMITTEE We have a new committee line-up this year, but are down to five members plus Ana Drougas. Frank Hammond from Horizon Sailmakers and Anne Cremean from Cancer Council Victoria have resigned. Queensland education: Watching brief The new policy directive removes capital works funding for shade sails in public schools. This will have an immediate impact on our Queensland installers. FSC believes the rationale for the decision is flawed and that the shade industry can build for extreme weather conditions. This issue centres on industry standards. There are resources in place to promote the merits of fabric structures, but we have a long way to go to overcome adverse publicity often brought about by shortcomings from within the industry.


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Cover Our Kids A campaign that is absolutely raging at the moment in the Western Sydney media is the ‘Cover Our Kids’ campaign, which centres on a public and media drive to have more built shade in council playgrounds and public spaces. A meeting was held with Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun to promote the work of the STA in the delivery of quality shade sails in playgrounds. Liverpool Council has shown a lot of interest. Another meeting with the Engineering Department at Liverpool Council with Glen Barlow was held on Tuesday 24 June to discuss working collaboratively to develop the criteria for shade structures in council tenders and quotes. As these meetings represent the first model for dealing with officials to promote fabric structures, we can see where we need to develop our approach to marketing. It would be useful to have tangible resources to offer; e.g. USB sticks and professionallybound copies of resources to go to meetings, as well as directing people to our STA website. Cancer Council We have developed a great relationship with the Cancer Council as we work on our mutual area of interest and we do need to foster this. Currently, we do not have a Cancer Council member on the FSC committee. The applications for the Cancer Council’s EFTPOS Shade for Secondary Schools Grant Program to provide up to $25,000 for high schools to build shade projects have now closed (13 June 2014). It will be interesting to see the results of this and who wins the contracts to supply the shade structures across the country. We expect a few to be STA members. This could a good promotional tool for the STA.

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Australian Standards review of AS4178 Tony Watts from Pro Knit advises that the Australian Standards committee to review AS4178 on shade cloth standards hasn’t met since its inaugural meeting in March. There have been some personnel changes on the committee at an organisational level. Tony has said he will keep in touch and advise the FSC about any progress. STA led participation at home shows I attended Sydney Home Show recently – exploring the feasibility of whether there is any financial benefit to be gained for the STA and members to promote their products with an STA-based stand. It would mean a $15,000 outlay from participants for a three- by six-metre stand. Up and coming • Forum with principals to discuss fabric structures in schools in Western Sydney. Success at this forum could see it taken around the country; e.g. South Australia, Queensland. • Blueprint for the installation of a shade sail – detailing the minimum quantified requirements for fabrics and design backed by engineering specifications and design evidence. • Marketing and distribution of information and resources available. Beatrice Moonen Chairperson

MARINE FABRICATORS COMMITTEE With two hands-on workshops now completed (May in Queensland and August in New South Wales), it is obvious that the Marine Fabricator Division (MFD) of STA is gaining momentum and the benefits are beginning to become apparent to the trade. Attendees for both workshops came from all over Australia and all concluded that they were thoroughly worthwhile events that need to be continued right across Australia. Melbourne hosted a marine fabricator networking breakfast in July, which provided an opportunity for marine trimmers to meet each other and share experiences and challenges. Future planned events: • Perth workshop 13 October 2014 • San Francisco MFA Convention January 2015 – Aussie delegation to visit • Hands-on workshops and demonstrations at SpecTex15 27 to 29 June 2015 in Melbourne • Gold Coast May 2015 workshop There has been a lot of interest in the MFD so far. Our aim as a committee is to continue providing an opportunity for learning and education, while working on areas that are of interest to marine fabricators; e.g. insurance, OHS, staffing. Neil Hancock Chairperson





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Shade Sail

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WHEN TOM MET TONY Last May, the STA’s past president Tom Gastin was invited to a meeting with a group of politicians, including none other than our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. How Tom then managed to make the most of this opportunity and bring the specialised textiles industry to the forefront of the national leader’s attention is detailed in this vivid first person account, written just after the event.


am still buzzing from Friday and I am still pinching myself that our Association has now had contact with the PM. I would love to share with you how it all went down and so you know what was said and to whom... First, I have to say, Glenn [Barlow], well done mate – you have just pulled off what could be one of the best things that has happened to our Association and industry. The PM, a senator and three MPs now know who we are and are batting for us. Your hard work on this over the last few months has been nothing short of inspirational and you have searched and leveraged off every possible opportunity that has led to this. Second, massive thanks to all of the committee of management who supported the decision to take this opportunity up and committed to forking out for the event. I think this was a great investment.


copies of the letter in the morning with an STA logo on the envelope. I was hoping to get a photo of me handing it to the PM and someone else if the opportunity arose.

THE LUNCH... After a one-hour drive and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ cranking on the stereo, I arrived pumped, excited and nervous at the same time. When I arrived, Craig Kelly was there to greet me. It started with some drinks, where I got to meet some of the attendees. Big-business owners, small-business owners, politicians etc. Some of whom were: ● Fiona Scott MP (Lindsay) ● Russell Matheson MP (Macarthur) ● Angus Taylor MP (Hume) ● Senator Marise Payne ● The PM When Tony Abbott came in, we were all asked to take our seats. I was right at the front, on the PM’s table and only four seats from the PM! I couldn’t believe it.

Fiona Scott MP and Russell Matheson MP both introduced the PM and he did a bit of a speech on the Budget. After his speech, he returned to his seat and the entrées came out. I went over to Craig Kelly to thank him for having me, and he said, “Let’s go over to him now and get in first.” So we went over as he took his first bite and Craig told him that he would like to introduce him to someone very important. Tony got up, shook my hand and we were off.

WHAT WE DISCUSSED... I started (as Frank Zumbo had suggested) with something he might be familiar with, by asking him if he was aware of the pressure on councils, governments and education departments to provide more shade to protect children from cancer. Then I went on to explain that we are the industry association that represents members who provide this shade and protection and other specialised textile products (and listed a few).

Professor Frank Zumbo (who we had dinner with a few weeks ago) called me on Thursday to give me a few tips on how to discuss our cause with the PM. He told me to keep it simple, as our message can be quite confusing for those who do not know our industry like we do. He suggested to initially start with something he could relate to and move on from there. He gave me plenty of good tips. He has been very helpful too. Ana Drougas put together a great letter that we could deliver to the PM on the day. After a couple of calls and emails on Thursday night (thanks for taking the time away from your family for this, Ana), I called Tami in to be a stand-in PM for some practice runs (had to hold back my winks). After a night of tossing and turning with excitement, I woke up completely pumped and printed out a couple of


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I then mentioned the challenges we are having (as discussed in the letter) and explained how we are still picking up the pieces from the damage the poorly managed BER (Building the Education Revolution) program has had on our industry. (He liked that one.) I explained that millions of dollars have been wiped from our industry even though our products are the most costeffective and reliable form of protecting kids from cancer and keeping the public happy. He then asked me why. I told him it is because the people who are making these decisions are making them without the right information and that we have it. We then went on to discuss what the Association has been doing to work through these issues (developing an accreditation program, have already developed the FSC – Fabric Structures Committee – to provide the right information to those making the decisions, affiliating with Cancer Council and so on). I then explained to him the current ‘Cover Our Kids’ campaign and the pressure this is putting on councils and local government. I said that those who are starting to know the facts are now making the right decisions and it is rewarding them (e.g. the positive publicity Mayor Ned Mannoun in Liverpool is getting now he is providing shade). I mentioned that as shade sails are very visual, it is also a great opportunity for his team to win votes through providing shade and keeping the public safe and happy.

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I also mentioned that as we are one of the few remaining manufacturing industries left in Australia, and that in some areas (e.g. liners, agriculture covers and so on), we have skill and resource shortages. His support for our industry can result in the placement of jobs from the larger manufacturers moving offshore (like Ford or Holden etc). I mentioned that, as we all know, small business is the largest employer in the country and is where most of the new jobs will need to come from. Here is an opportunity for him to look like he is doing something to create more jobs. He then asked what support we needed?! I told him the key for us at the moment is to be the first point of contact for those making decisions on shade, so we can provide them with the right information, and so that they can make calculated decisions. I asked him to encourage those who need to know about shade to contact us and let us know who we need to get in front of. I explained the benefits of supporting us – how this will create the following opportunities for him: ● keeping the public safe, protecting kids from cancer ● supporting a solution for shade that can save money ● will look like he is supporting small business, and ● will look like he is supporting the manufacturing industry and providing jobs.

He told me to send him the letter and he would read it and pass the information to those that need to know. I told him I had it there and handed it to him hoping that Craig might get a photo with the STA logo, but it was quite funny and awkward as it was an envelope and probably didn’t look too good. He cracked a joke about it (“I hope it’s just a letter”) we had a laugh and he folded it quickly and put it in his jacket. He then asked me about the Budget and what I thought of it as a small-business owner. We had a good chat about that for a couple of minutes, then I thanked him for his time and left him to eat. He was really engaging and seemed quite interested. We even had a couple of laughs. I reckon I was the only person that got one-on-one time with him because, after lunch, he got up to mingle with everyone and he got bombarded with people just wanting selfies and photos Following lunch, I went on my stealth mission to get in front of the other MPs and the Senator. I spoke to all of those on the list above and was talking to Fiona Scott when she started talking about infrastructure in public places and the pressures they are under to deliver. It was perfect timing. I gave her the same spiel and handed her the second letter with the logo and Craig took a picture of me with her and the STA envelope. (Still waiting on the pic…!) After the PM left, I sat with Craig Kelly MP, Senator Marise Payne and a couple of others for about 20 minutes while they all talked shop and had a good social catchup and talked about rugby and, of course, the STA. Overall, it was a cracker of a day for us. The PM was really engaging, asking questions that made it clear he was really listening and he looked impressed that his support for us could work for him too. Now, they all at least know who we are, what we do and how we can help. So this alone is a win, I think. It is also going to be great when we are lobbying and talking to those decision-makers that we can say that the PM, a senator and several MPs know about us. I think this will help move people into action. We now have pull from the bottom and the top! Thanks again all for the opportunity and I really looking forward to seeing what happens from hereon in.


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BUILDING OUR INDUSTRY PROFILE NATIONALLY Local and federal MPs ramp up the focus on all things specialised textiles, reports the STA’s vice president, Glenn Barlow.


n the back of the Specialised Textiles Association’s (STA’s) past president Tom Gastin meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and various other MPs only three weeks prior, our Association was yet again at the forefront of government and media exposure. With the News Ltd ‘Cover Our Kids’ campaign a focus in Western Sydney for the past six months and the STA being in the thick of discussions with local, state and federal governments, a focus on one of our longest serving member companies put some icing on the cake.

THE COMPANY Entrenched in south-west Sydney, E H Brett & Sons sits in the local government of Liverpool, state seat of Menai and federal seat of Hughes – without doubt three of the most influential and largest New South Wales electoral areas, dealing with issues that reflect a nation. In early June, managing director Greg Penman and operations manager Robert Bull, along with the talented E H Brett team, hosted an afternoon with federal MP Craig Kelly and Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun, showing off many of the aspects that make our industry great. Also in attendance were STA president David Burton, past president Tom Gastin, Fabric Structure Committee chair Beatrice Moonan and me.

SHADE Following on from the ‘Cover Our Kids’ campaign, both Kelly and Mannoun were given a blow-by-blow description of the advancements our industry has made in the area of ultraviolet (UV) protection and


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our endeavours to work with the Cancer Council and government on further developments. A simulated shade sail setup in the Brett car park created a fantastic backdrop for an information session dominated by Beatrice Moonan, David Burton and Robert Bull.


STA’s award at the May/June Textiles in the Vines conference, but also the My Gateway Manufacturing Trainee of the Year award in November 2013. A huge thank-you to Greg Penman and the team at E H Brett & Sons, which put on this fantastic afternoon at very short notice and represented all of us in the industry so well.

E H Brett & Sons is a 134-year-old company, and at the meeting was able to show off some of the state-of-theart equipment, machinery and training methods that has seen it not only stand the test of time, but also thrive as a small manufacturing company. Penman spoke to the assembled guests of the challenges that our industry faces to maintain a competitive edge in a global market and how a small business goes to great lengths in order to survive and look after its staff at all costs.

YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING Recent winner of the STA’s ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ award, Renee Kelly was also able to show off some of the skills that gained her not only the

25/08/2014 12:36 pm


Sio-Line B8702 and B6000 – now with FR


ince January 2012, Ricky Richards has been a proud national distributor for Sioen Industries, Direct Coating Division, Belgium. We stock many of its speciality PVC product lines, including Sio-Line B8702 – general ripstop tarpaulin fabric, and Sio-Line B6000 – side curtain fabric. We are excited to announce that both B8702 and B6000 will now be available with an added feature – fire retardancy. As we keep up with industry trends and requirements, we believe it is important for us to relaunch these products with the fire retardant inclusion, as this is beneficial for all applications in which these products are used.

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Sio-Line B8702 is the ideal 700gsm rip resistant PVC product for heavy-duty tarpaulins, roll-over tarps, ute and box trailer covers and grain bins. Available in both 250-centimetre and 320-centimetre widths, this product has a large selection of 15 vibrant colours. The gloss acrylic lacquer on both sides helps keep this fabric durable and very easy to clean. Standard roll length is 30 metres. Sio-Line B6000 is a heavy-duty PVC fabric ideally used for truck side curtains, roll-over tarps and extra heavy-duty tarpaulins. Due to its superior strength, performance and long-term durability this fabric is an excellent choice for high

performance applications. B6000 is a 900gsm printable fabric available in 13 colours. With a gloss acrylic lacquer on both sides this fabric is also very easy to clean and maintain. Available in standard roll lengths of 30m and 60m, B6000 is also available in 200m rolls by request. Both of these popular PVC fabrics now feature improved FR capabilities. They are currently in stock and ready for shipment exclusively from Ricky Richards. Should you require further information about Sio-Line B8702 or B6000, or any other products available from Ricky Richards please contact our friendly sales team today by phone 02 9735 3333 or by email


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UNILINE’S ACQUISITION OF BOF FALLS THROUGH Uniline recently issued a press release informing customers and the industry of its proposed bid to acquire Bradmill Outdoor Fabrics (BOF) from British Millerain. But now that deal will not go ahead.


he window furnishings manufacturer has launched several initiatives in its bid to become ‘the preferred window covering system supplier to the industry’, but this deal would have been a major step for Uniline. On 1 August, however, Bradmill issued its own press release, explaining that its parent company, British Millerain, will not now proceed with the sale of its Australian-based business (BOF) to Uniline. “We apologise to all our stakeholders, including employees, for the inconvenience caused during the agreed transactional period,” wrote global chairman and major stakeholder Michael Miller in the release. “The failure to meet the set deadline of 1 August leads the British Millerain Company to conclude that the BOF business is now best served by a renewed vigour and vision.” The statement went on to announce that this ‘vigour and vision’ will be led by Miller and the team at BOF, “who will continue to be led by interim CEO, Alan Williamson”. The reason for Uniline’s withdrawal from the deal has not been announced, though in its original announcement, it stated, “Over the last five years, the window furnishings industry has gone through a significant period of challenge and change. Uniline Australia has had to embrace this change and move with the demands of the industry.” Uniline CEO Gilbert Da Silva said the company was proud to have maintained its core philosophy of being an Australian owned, manufacturing and design corporation. “In our endeavour to become ‘the preferred window covering system supplier to the industry’, we have bolstered our international partnerships with substantial investments in an offshore weaving company, Elite Weaving, acquired Intex Shutters, our new shutter division, as well as set up new international supply chain partnerships,” said Da Silva. “Further to this, we have invested in additional R&D engineers to maintain our already quality product, upgrade our existing product offering and to bring to the market new and innovative products in the future.” Uniline Australia also claimed it had identified the need to move from being not only a manufacturing supply company in the industry, but also a marketing focused enterprise, able to deliver systems and solutions to the window furnishings industry. In doing so, the company said it had realigned its sales and service proposition to its customers and distribution channels. “We are now ready to move on the next phase of our strategy,” said Da Silva. With the Bradmill Outdoor Fabrics deal now off the table, it remains to be seen what that next phase will be.

For further information contact: Uniline T: +61 7 3804 9000 / E:


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MIKE FISHER MOVES TO HVG HVG Fabrics has announced the appointment of Mike Fisher to the newly created role of business development manager – Shade Structures. The company says it’s very happy to be welcoming Fisher, who has an extensive shade fabric background, notably as the general manager of Polyfab Australia for the last six years. “HVG is very pleased to have someone of Mike’s pedigree in the shade fabric market join our national team of fabrics specialists,” says Daniel Gollan, business manager of HVG Fabrics. “With a business driven by relationships built on trust and reliability, we believe Mike adds significant value with his many years experience in performance textiles.” “I am delighted to join such a dynamic and progressive team in HVG Fabrics,” says Fisher. “Already acknowledged to be at the forefront in their industrial and decorative fabrics, I look forward to expanding their position in the Australian shade market,” he concludes.

MIAMI STAINLESS NOW A VICTORIA LOCAL Miami Stainless has operated on the Gold Coast since 2002, serving customers from all over Australia with quick delivery of quality stainless steel hardware. The customer-centric company has always put an emphasis on service through fast turnarounds and a committed sales team available six days a week. Over the years, the company has seen significant growth in Victoria. While feedback has been positive, Miami Stainless is now undergoing changes to ensure it can continue offering superior service and meet demand. David Swanborough has worked as a salesperson for the company for over three years and his knowledge of the balustrade and shade sail industries has been an undoubted asset. He specialises and takes personal interest in large tension structures and large wire projects. Swanborough has now relocated to Melbourne as the local contact for Victorian customers to ask questions, discuss project requirements and request in-person visits. Victorian customers can continue contacting the Gold Coast office for enquiries and sales or contact David Swanborough directly by visiting the Contact Us page on the Miami Stainless website for details.

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collection The perfect interplay of top-quality design and technical functionality. Planosol awning fabrics offer more than just shade. They protect you from sun and weather. They constitute a central design element in your house or business, or in your surroundings. Planosol fabrics create atmosphere. They give you the living space you need, for many years. This is why Planosol has chosen to fuse sensuality and function. Our fabrics are sophisticated hightech products for the highest demands, and come in timeless colours and a wide array of designs. LUMERA




Planosol. Our quality promise for your premium shade.

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WORLD-CLASS PARTNERSHIP Shann, a leading local supplier to the industrial fabrics market, has announced a new distribution partnership with Hagihara, a worldclass manufacturer of PE (polyethylene) fabrics.


ased in Kurashiki City in Japan, Hagihara Industries is well-known in the Australian marketplace for its quality products, with an enviable history dating back 40 years. Hagihara was established in 1962, commencing with the production of PE monofilament and the development of flat yarn in 1967. In 1974, it opened the world’s first integrated factory for polyethylene tarpaulin sheet, which was marketed under the brand name Tarpee. The constant evolution and creativity of Hagihara now sees its products sold across the world, from the US to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The Shann Group is proud to be part of that evolution, confirming the addition of the wellrespected Tarpee range into its industrial fabrics category.

“We are absolutely delighted to announce our new distribution partnership with Hagihara Industries,” says Melissa Vine, national product manager with The Shann Group. “Hagihara is an exceptional company with wellknown brands and we at The Shann Group are proud to be a part of their international representation. It’s a great teaming, with both companies having a wellingrained and vested connection with the Australian market and with quality product,” continues Vine. “We are excited about working with the Hagihara team and offering our customers a high performing product with an improved service proposition.” Launching in October, the Tarpee range will be stocked nationally, creating faster delivery and service times. Swatching and marketing material can be pre-ordered for October delivery by contacting The Shann Group head office or your local branch. For further information contact: Melissa Vine, national product manager – Industrial Fabrics, The Shann Group T: +61 3 8480 0800 E: W:


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icky Richards has announced the launch of a new company logo coupled with the ongoing evolution of its company brand and vision. The release of the new logo marks a milestone for the family company that has been operating for over 30 years. Kelly Morgan, marketing coordinator at Ricky Richards, says, “We are excited to commit to our new vision for the company and strengthen our position in the markets that we service. “Today, Ricky Richards is getting ready for the future, with the directors, Ron, Norman and Eric Gottlieb having a goal of Ricky Richards being the best company that any of our customers will ever deal with. Whether they are direct or indirect customers, we want their lives to be enriched for having been involved with us. For our employees, we will provide a work environment that is happy and professional allowing all colleagues every opportunity for personal growth and development,” she says. “Ricky Richards has grown and evolved during the past 30 years and to celebrate we have refreshed our logo to reflect where we are today and symbolise our dynamic future ahead. We are proud of our company history, which is why our new logo retains our core element, the well-known Ricky Richards arrow. The addition of our new slogan, ‘Real Possibilities – Real Solutions’, shows we are committed to working towards solution-based outcomes for anyone that works with us,” adds Morgan. The rollout of the new logo and vision on all of the company literature will take place over the coming months. The company says it would be grateful if anyone in the industry who has used the Ricky Richards logo on their own marketing materials and website would update them. “We will happily support you through this process. Please contact the Ricky Richards marketing team for the new logo and any other assistance by email at,” concludes Morgan.

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MERMET JOINS FORCES WITH BRICOS TO WEAVE A NEW LOOK Fabric brand, Mermet, has announced some major changes to its brand and product structure.


riginating in France in 1951, Mermet began creating products for the solar protection market in 1976 and established an Australian arm in 1991. Based in the Carrum Downs area of Victoria, Mermet Australia now has over 20 years’ experience in creating sunscreen fabrics for window coverings. This pioneering tradition continues today, as Mermet has announced its recent integration of Mermet Turnils and Bricos into a single business unit under the Bricos name Accordingly, Bricos has conducted a review of its brands and overall product offering. The results of this review are now being seen, as Mermet has implemented a number of changes intended to simplify and streamline its product offer and make it easier for customers to do business with them. According to marketing manager, Jennifer Elmer, “The biggest change we’re making is that the majority of our fabric ranges will now be available under the Mermet brand.” Most fabric ranges from the original Bricos stable of products are now part of

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the Mermet product family – including fabrics from the Bricos ‘Roller, Roman and Panel Glide Fabric Collection’ and the ‘Designer Collection’. To accommodate these changes, Mermet says its fabric collection has been restructured into three clearly defined and easy-to-use categories: Performance Sunscreens – offering UV protection, fire retardancy, technical performance, and thermal and visual comfort, this category includes the M-Screen, E-Screen and Deco-Screen fabrics, all of which feature the Enduris Glass Core Technology, to enhance sustainability while reducing energy costs Cachet – Mermet’s collection of textured and decorator fabrics, available in translucent and blockout options, in a range of designer colours, and Essentials – a new category of functional, everyday fabric ranges that include blockout, translucent and fire retardant options. “New fabric ranges have been added to every Mermet category, to create a

comprehensive yet streamlined product offering, with a wide range of fabrics available across the three categories,” says Elmer. “The SunShadow collection of fabrics – a firm favourite of many Bricos customers – will not be affected by these changes to Mermet,” she adds. In fact, the three SunShadow sunscreen ranges – Net Screen, RR Screen and Screen Opulence – as well as Bricos’ roman blind lining fabric, RomaLine, will continue to be available under the company brand, Bricos. To support the newly revamped collection, Mermet has updated its brand image and launched some new initiatives, including a swatching concept. “The new Mermet swatching concept will house our Performance Sunscreens, Cachet and Essentials fabrics in a complete set of stylish yet functional sample books that showcase Mermet’s extensive collection of interior fabrics for window coverings,” concludes Elmer.


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Meet Gina Wicker, the Design and Creative Director behind the inspired Sunbrella fabrics.


ith over 25 years in the textile industry, Gina leads all creative activities for Sunbrella, including trends, design and new line introductions. She was the perfect person to talk to about all things colour, innovation and the direction that the marine and shade fabric markets are heading.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TRENDS FOR MARINE AND SHADE? G. While flat, rich colours are still quite popular (think Captain Navy for Bimini tops and black for commercial awnings), there is definitely a trend towards adding texture and surface interest. We recently introduced the texture Silica, featuring a slub yarn and interesting warp colour


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layouts to achieve a homespun look. Our newest texture introduction is Crest, with a yarn that adds flecks of colour throughout the fabric. WHAT ARE THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND THE SUNBRELLA RANGE? G. Our design team travels around the world researching trends. They also spend a lot of time working directly with our customers, giving them great insight into the end consumer’s world. WHY IS COLOUR IMPORTANT AND HOW CAN IT IMPACT THE OVERALL FINISHED PROJECT? G. Colour makes a huge difference in both awning and marine applications. For example, if you’re trying to completely

block light, you’ll want to go with a darker colour, but if you’re trying to stay away from the “cave” effect, a lighter colour would be a much better option. Most colour selections tend to be made based on the exterior colours used in the building or hull colours on the boat, but sometimes using an accent colour can be nice as well. WHICH SUNBRELLA FABRIC IS YOUR FAVOURITE AT THE MOMENT? G. Ha! That‘s a trick question, and it changes just about daily as I see them used in different projects. Right now, I would say that Crest Ash is my favourite. We just used it on a M36 sailboat as part of the Perspective New England project (see right), and it’s stunning.

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WHAT MAKES SUNBRELLA FABRIC SO SPECIAL? G. Glen Raven (the parent company of Sunbrella) developed a pigment technology in the late 1950s with a partner who later transferred full rights to the proprietary technology to us. We’ve spent over 50 years testing and perfecting it, making our pigments and fibres superior to anything else available. We use a carrot and radish analogy: A carrot is orange all the way through while a radish has colour on the outside. If you look at a Sunbrella fibre cross section under a microscope, its colour runs to the core. Traditionally dyed and printed textiles are like the radish; the colour is only on the exterior, opening it up to fading over time. HOW DOES SUNBRELLA PUSH THE LIMITS ON PERFORMANCE FABRIC DESIGN? G. We maintain testing and R&D facilities to ensure that our processes and products are superior. By continually testing and inspecting our yarns and fabrics, we ensure that our quality exceeds the demands of our direct customers, as well as the end consumer. WHAT DOES BEING INNOVATIVE MEAN TO YOU? To some folks it means thinking outside the box. To us, the box never existed. We’re about trying new things with current materials, but it also means developing new materials to suit a new end use.

The Morris M36’s dodger and sail cover in Crest Ash.


WHY IS BEING INNOVATIVE SO IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO FABRIC? G. Textiles is one of the oldest manufacturing businesses, and we have innovated on everything from manufacturing process to new materials. Today’s consumers expect more. They want beauty AND performance. It’s 50 years of innovation and design that allows us to deliver both. To find out more about the inspired designs from Sunbrella visit

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The Rhode Yacht: A refurbished 1977 Airstream Argosy featuring Sunbrella upholstery and 24-foot awning


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22 TECHNOLOGY Mildura Soundshell.

ELECTRONIC COLOUR-CHANGING FABRIC DEMONSTRATED A textile that uses electricity to change colour on command has been demonstrated by a textile designer from Hungary. By JOHN NELSON.


he Chromosonic project indicates one future route for designing clothing that harnesses innovations in wearable electronics to enhance the owner’s interaction with their environment, but its properties and current limitations may see an even earlier use in the specialised textiles industry.

EXTERNAL STIMULI To make Chromosonic, Budapest-based Judit Eszter Karpati, screen-printed thermochromatic dyes onto a fabric. The standard fibres were interwoven with thin nichrome wires, which are driven by four 24-volt industrial DC power supplies. When the power supplies are turned on, the wires quickly heat up and the thermochromatic dyes react to change the colour of the patterned fabric from blue, red or black to white. In a demonstration model, the effect takes only a few seconds to become apparent.


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The four power supplies are controlled by an Audrino-programmed microcontroller and a set of 20 circuit boards. Besides heat, Chromosonic also reacts when pressure is applied to it.

DANCEWEAR In trials, Karpati has varied the heat flow and hence colour change in the fabric by driving them from computer music files. In the longer-term, she sees clothing that reacts to music at a concert or a nightclub as a major potential market for smart clothing made using a future version Chromosonic. Karpati says, “My main interest in textile design is the dynamically changing surfaces, structures and integrating interactive technologies into textiles.”

BEYOND NOVELTY The current sample of Chromosonic, with its multiple power supplies and circuit

boards, is impractical for converting into a garment. However, as proof-of-concept, it is interesting as both fashion designers and the military have expressed an interest in producing similar effects. The London fashion house CuteCircuit has been pioneering clothing with built-in electronics for several years. This has included a dress with 2000 LEDs that was linked to the social messaging service Twitter and worn by the pop singer Nicole Scherzinger in 2012. More recently, mimicking Kapati’s interest, CuteCircuit designed a jacket that reacted in response to music and the noise of a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG engine, in a television advertisement for the car firm. For the military, garments that change colour to directly reflect the environment in which they are placed could evidently be a major step forward in camouflage. Using OLEDs mounted

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on fabric to do this has been advocated for some time, to create a protoinvisibility cloak.

WEIGHT AND SEE In the short-term, the weight of batteries and components to power these electronic fabrics makes them prohibitive for garments. As such, the technology is much more likely to be used on static fabrics like curtains and carpets or vehicles like tanks or ships – where the extra weight would be less of a challenge. A significant development may come from the increasing range of lightweight on-body charging devices, which are being developed to support the surge in interest in wearable electronic devices – though Chromosonic’s technology will always require a fair amount of power to drive the nichrome heating wires. If a solution can be produced, smart reactive electronic garments could also have a role in other segments like survival and safety clothing. C This article first appeared on the +Plastic Electronics website, which provides in-depth analysis of technology developments and market trends in flexible and wearable electronics. Visit to find out more and to subscribe.

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Pop singer Nicole Scherzinger in her 2000-LED dress from CuteCircuit.


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SOCIAL MEDIA MADE EASY Anyone lucky enough to attend her talk at Textiles in the Vines will know that VIVIENNE FORBES from Social Ties has a gift for demystifying the world of social media and showing us the myriad ways in which we can use it to improve our businesses. But, of course, not everyone could make that talk, so here’s a potted introduction for the rest of you.

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA? Some small businesses know that they should have a social media presence, but find it daunting or are unable to dedicate the time and resources to it. In reality, every small business should be participating in social media. Even if you don’t have professionally managed social media profiles, you need to be paying attention to what’s going on. Not having a social media footprint eliminates a great marketing avenue, and it can be detrimental to a business’s stature.


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So why use social media? What is in it for you? For starters, you can extend your brand past your website, past your salespeople and past your front door. You can interact with your clients and your business community, and share information about your business regularly as it happens. If you are a morning person, social media is there. If you are a night owl, social media is there. Social media is always on, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It works for you when you are not working; it supports you when you are

and ensures you are top of mind no matter what the time of day. Social media gives your business personality and people do business with people they like. Think of social media as a form of advertising, communication and promotion, with the bonus being you can talk directly to the clients, industries and suppliers that you want to talk to and you can do it… regularly. The key to becoming social media active is knowing your clients and, if your clients use it, you mirror them and

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become active where they are too. If you find out where the movers and shakers in your industry are on social media, join those networks.

THE DIFFERENT PLATFORMS With Twitter you can contribute, but you can also follow people who are important to your industry. It enables you to find out what is happening, what are the thought leaders thinking? What are the overseas trends? What are the politicians doing that affects your industry? You can join the conversation and make your voice heard. It can be your opportunity to communicate with the people that matter, or be a silent observer. LinkedIn is about connecting with people in your industry, with your clients, suppliers. It is more than just a platform for your resumé. There are many

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discussion groups on LinkedIn, which you can join, or even start. It is a great way to become a voice in your industry, a thought leader, and discuss your business with like-minded people. It is also a great way of connecting with people in Australia and around the world. You can find contacts in virtually any business everywhere, connect and communicate with them. LinkedIn has other features that benefit businesses. It has a program called Pulse, where you input the topics you are interested in and every day you will receive an email with all of the discussions that have happened on those subjects across the platform in the previous 24 hours. Many ideas can come from these starting points. LinkedIn also has SlideShare, which hosts PowerPoint presentations on every conceivable subject, and they are all accessible for you to look at and use as a resource. Facebook is for the more lighthearted side of your business. It is a great place for sharing your business news, sharing the fun part of your business with images, staff updates, new products, great wins or images of a great project you have completed, for example. The simple way of explaining it is this: it is like a conversation you have with people about your business. It’s not the place for a hard sell, but a place to share the great things that you do at work. It is also a place to get feedback (or not, depending on how you set up your account). You can follow your clients, your competitors or your suppliers and create a community. You can have people engage with you and your business on a closer level. Instagram is like Facebook, but for images. If your business is high on visuals – a picture paints a thousand words. You can show your products as they need to be shown. You can detail their development, show examples of product usage, run competitions. You can utilise #s (hashtags) by ensuring all of your images are in one place and can be sourced by using # symbol. If the thought of #s makes you feel like you have entered the twilight zone, don’t worry. That can be explained another day.

going? There are many tools on the web that show you step by step how to set it up. There are also companies that can help you. Once it is set and ready to go, how do you build it? Here, your staff are the key. Find the staff who are passionate and care about your business, so they can become brand advocates for your business on the social media platforms. By having them on board, you will see the benefits as they in turn promote it externally and help grow your following. Advocates become actively involved – by liking your posts, sharing your posts and providing information for your posts. All of which helps grow your following. You also need to start following people who interest you. They will then follow you in return and, the next thing you know, you have a community. All your external communications, on your website, or anywhere else you are visible, need to have links to your social media platforms.



There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Sometimes staff are concerned that being involved in your social media exposes you to their personal pages. This is not the case. A business page on Facebook, for example, cannot see a person’s personal page or information. Do you have a social media policy? You need to be aware of any possible ramifications of having a social media presence. How would you deal with it if it goes sour, with negative feedback, for example? Fortunately, there are many social media policy examples on the web to help you be aware and prepare for any pitfalls. You can also advertise and pay to promote yourself on social media. This comes down to knowing your market, as you can pinpoint your advertising quite easily. The good thing is it doesn’t cost much to trial and a small investment will give you an indication if that is the platform for you. Just be aware that with any advertising it is all part of the mix and you can’t just focus on one medium to get your message across. Good luck and l am sure it won’t take long for you to see the benefits of having your company/brand on social media. C

Once you know the social media platform that suits your business, how do you get it


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his year’s Conference was declared a success, despite the uncertainty of the new, never-tested-before program – with early feedback from exhibitors and attendees confirming that a balanced mix of business and pleasure in a remote location seems to be a winning formula. Here’s a brief wrap-up of each of the events. Our business sessions – held over two days – were well-attended. Despite some initial doubt about participation, given the amended format, location and parallel sessions, attendees said they liked the format and the choice of topics. Exhibitors particularly liked this year’s format because it gave them the opportunity to participate rather than be limited to the trade exhibition floor while business sessions were on (as in previous years). We are currently in the process of collating all the speaker notes to place in the member area of our website. Once this has been finalised, we will send out a communication to confirm. The number of exhibitors was limited due to the emphasis of this year’s event being placed on the conference component, as opposed to the trade exhibition. The quality of exhibitor stands was at the standard we have come to expect and the atmosphere on the trade floor over the three hours of opening was positive. Attendance at each of the networking events was exceptional, as usual. Due to the friendly, approachable, down-to-earth nature of our membership – and its willingness to get into the spirit of things whether it’s an elegant formal dinner, chilled out barbecue dinner or raucous night of dancing and singing – this is a part of the program that always works. A formal post-implementation review of the conference has been held and the results of this feedback will be used to help us shape our event for next year. Images/photos taken during the event are being posted on our website for members – once this has been finalised, all members will receive notification. The dates of next year’s expo have now been set. We can confirm that our 2015 Expo will be held from 27 to 29 June at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and that we will be celebrating our 75-year anniversary as an association.


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“The STA conference was once again a wonderful event and a great networking platform. The information sessions were very informative and the social functions were enjoyed by all! Looking forward to the 2015 Conference.” – Carman Goldblatt, Fabric Solutions

“We always enjoy our industry conventions and have had family members attending consecutive conventions for the past 40 years. This year we particularly enjoyed participating and offering a tour of our textile mill as part of the program. We received an overwhelming positive response and interest from the fabricators who attended. Many commented that they had been working for many years with canvas and PVC materials, but had no idea of the manufacturing processes that went into the fabrics that are used on a daily basis. We are looking forward to Melbourne next year.” – Jim and James Kelman, Wax Converters Textiles

“The STA conference in the Hunter Valley was a success in business and friendships that were built and strengthened over the three days. The talent and workmanship up for the STA Awards was outstanding. Each and every entry should be proud of the work being produced in Australia.” – Clare Corban, Goodearl and Bailey


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“I have been around the world attending expos and trade fairs and… the Hunter Valley Conference was one of the best I have attended. The Opening Night meet and greet was fantastic and a great way to kick off the weekend. The business breakfast with Sam Kekovich was light-hearted, extremely funny and certainly set the tone for the weekend. The business sessions were extremely beneficial. As we attended with customers and suppliers, this put us all on the same page. My wife and I attended the cooking course, which was a great way to meet people on a social level. The Kelman family at Wax Converters made us all feel welcome, providing insightful knowledge into the manufacturing of fabric and a great morning tea. The Awards Night was most enjoyable with Sam Kekovich as MC – a very memorable night. The trade stalls were fantastic, with a two-hour visiting time-frame, it provided a relaxed environment with great one-on-one time with exhibitors, allowing key development of working relationships. The venue was superb and the relaxed atmosphere provided an extremely successful business conference. The bonus of the location in the wine region certainly scored me brownie points with my wife. I would like to personally thank the STA committee in executing a wellorganised, successful event.” – Kevin Dahlberg, Hardback Industries

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An Industry Trade Exhibition and Conference for everyone involved with Fabrics, Components, Equipment and Services For further information contact Ana Drougas or Kiah Struck on 03 9521 2114 or email


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Every year one of the undoubted highlights of the STA’s annual conference is the Awards for Excellence ceremony and Textiles in the Vines was no exception. The prestigious event was brought forward this year, taking place on the Sunday evening rather than the traditional last night of the conference.

“The scope called for a fabric curtain to be fabricated and installed to eight high-tension cables that were suspended from eight counter lever beams and then drilled into the seabed. As this type of project has never been attempted before, we faced numerous issues that required design solutions.”

Hundreds of industry members gathered together for a night of wonderful entertainment and to help celebrate the success of those industry members who continue to raise the bar through their work on increasingly complex and eye-catching projects.


From the large field of contenders, just eight winners and seven special commendations – each displaying technical mastery and skill – were selected. The text and images on the following pages illustrate the fruits of their labours.

MARINE, MOTOR TRIMMING AND CUSTOM COVERS (BOATS, CARS, TRUCKS, CARAVANS ETC) WINNER COMPANY: David’s Custom Trimmers PROJECT NAME: Big boat cover FABRIC SUPPLIER: Bainbridge FABRIC NAME: Sunbrella “The client wanted an improvement over his old cover that let sun in around all the stanchion rail entrance points and that took three hours for one person to fit. He also wanted entranceways on both sides, for access with the full cover still in place, and removable sections near the cockpit area.”

CATEGORY 4: WINDOW FURNISHINGS, BLINDS AND AWNINGS (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL) – DOMESTIC WINNER COMPANY: E H Brett & Sons PROJECT NAME: Retractable roof blind system FABRIC SUPPLIER: Innova FABRIC NAME: Ferrari 502 “The purpose of this motorised retractable roof system was to control the heat and light penetrating through the Perspex roof during hot summer days, but with the flexibility of being able to allow the heat in during the colder months and utilise the area of a night time to stargaze.”


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CATEGORY 5: WINDOW FURNISHINGS, BLINDS AND AWNINGS (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL) – COMMERCIAL SPECIAL COMMENDATION COMPANY: Kenlow (1982) PROJECT NAME: Clancy’s Fish Pub FABRIC SUPPLIER: Bradmill FABRIC NAME: Brella Classic “The architect’s instructions were to remove the existing old cover and recover. The architect was on-site on the day of completion and expressed his delight that Kenlow was able to cover the irregular framework successfully.”



“Customising a roof lining of this size and being able to install it without one mark on the fabric, and so that even the most experienced person doesn’t notice that it is a tensioned fabric roof all to the requirements and specifications of a world-renowned artist, now that’s worthy!”

CATEGORY 7: SHADE SAILS OR STRUCTURES – COMMERCIAL (USING KNITTED SHADE CLOTH ONLY) SPECIAL COMMENDATION COMPANY: Horizon Sail Structures PROJECT NAME: Oracle Peppes FABRIC SUPPLIER: Prorange FABRIC NAME: Monotec 370 “Once the conceptual design was approved, a design analysis was done to ensure that the concept would indeed give the coverage required from the sun. Sun penetration analysis reports were completed and approved by the architect.”


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CATEGORY 7: SHADE SAILS OR STRUCTURES – COMMERCIAL (USING KNITTED SHADE CLOTH ONLY) WINNER COMPANY: Abacus Shade Structures PROJECT NAME: Alouette Childcare Centre FABRIC SUPPLIER: Ricky Richards FABRIC NAME: Monotect 370 “Our skin cancer rates are the highest in the world. How we protect our children today determines cancer levels into the future. NSW childcare centre policies are spot on, insisting on high levels of shade for kids. Councils on the other hand can sometimes make the provision of shade quite onerous.”


shade structure FABRIC SUPPLIER: Goodearl and Bailey FABRIC NAME: Soltis 92

“The end result was a spectacular and uniquely shaped shade structure that met all of the client’s requirements while maintaining complete practicality. When this job came to us, we were told that it had gone to a few other companies that thought it was too complex to take on.”

CATEGORY 9: TENSION AND AIR SUPPORTED STRUCTURES (COATED FABRICS, PVC MESH, PTFE) 250SQM – 2000SQM SPECIAL COMMENDATION COMPANY: Wyong Rugby League Club PROJECT NAME: Wyong Rugby League Club FABRIC SUPPLIER: Innova FABRIC NAME: Ferrari Precontraint 802 S2 “The client is absolutely astounded with the final outcome. The club continually receives comments from members, particularly the aged and handicapped how easy it is now to enter the club in inclement weather.”


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CATEGORY 9: TENSION AND AIR SUPPORTED STRUCTURES (COATED FABRICS, PVC MESH, PTFE) 250SQM – 2000SQM WINNER COMPANY: Skyspan PROJECT NAME: Safari Island Maldives FABRIC SUPPLIER: Shann FABRIC NAME: Valmex Mahler “The project was above and beyond the client’s needs by fulfilling a required time-frame, budget and visually stunning centrepiece to his island resort. The client usually used very traditional thatched roofing for his many islands. So our structure was a new concept for him, which he was most excited about.”





“A significant technical challenge was to determine the minimum angle of the membrane of the membrane facets to avoid ponding and ensure adequate rainwater run-off to the desired locations. Furthermore, it was challenging to detail the structure in such a way that the interface between the membrane and the aluminium cladding concealed the majority of the structural steelwork.”

CATEGORY 10: TENSION AND AIR SUPPORTED STRUCTURES (COATED FABRICS, PVC MESH, PTFE) > 2000SQM WINNER COMPANY: Fabritecture PROJECT NAME: Adelaide Oval FABRIC SUPPLIER: Saint Gobain FABRIC NAME: Sheerfill “This custom fabric architecturally designed project required the integration of our team of specialists with a vast array of trades on-site. This was a custom design, with multiple canopies, shade shells and stadium shade canopies. Fabritecture mobilised a team of over 20 fabric installation specialists for the duration of the redevelopment.”


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CATEGORY 11: GENERAL – BANNERS, FLAGS, INFLATABLES, FABRIC ART WINNER COMPANY: Pattons PROJECT NAME: House of Yogurt FABRIC SUPPLIER: Hiraoka FABRIC NAME: Sundream A “The purpose of this PVC structure was to act to guide people through the self-serve store in a circular flow and provide an exciting dining experience. The client’s expectations were exceeded by our installation turnaround time and the effectiveness of our design and tensioning system.”

CATEGORY 12: PRODUCT INNOVATION (TECHNOLOGY, FABRICATION AND FABRICS) SPECIAL COMMENDATION COMPANY: Big Red Shade Products PROJECT NAME: Vaults FABRIC SUPPLIER: Unknown FABRIC NAME: PVC “A visually compelling installation, which has recycled (or repurposed) used PVC banners and recycled timber on modern structural steel frames to create an inviting venue beside the Yarra River.”



CATEGORY 13: YOUNG ACHIEVER – RENEE KELLY SPECIAL RECOGNITION COMPANY: E H Brett & Sons PROJECT NAME: Various FABRIC SUPPLIER: Halifax Vogel & Charles Parsons FABRIC NAME: Hortcover & Polysheen “The major point of difference on both these jobs was the age of the young achiever running the project. At just 18 years of age, our young achiever showed a level of maturity and understanding rarely seen in the competent planning and execution of all tasks involved.”


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Jim Kelman.

The Weaving Department.

PREACHING TO THE CONVERTED Wax Converters Textiles is a family-owned fabric manufacturer that was established by father and son team Jim and James Kelman in 1991 and exports to over 15 countries. During the Textiles in the Vines Conference, the Kelmans opened the doors to their state-of-the-art Hunter Valley production facility and showed us around…


ne of the undoubted highlights of the conference for all who were lucky enough to attend had to be the tour of Wax Converters Textiles, where CEO James Kelman gave us carte blanche to look around the large premises, answered all of our questions and blamed his dad for the company’s now outdated name. But more on that later… The company’s mill is located in Racecourse Road, Rutherford and comprises five main stages/areas of the production cycle. James led the way – following a cheery morning tea and a brief introduction – first issuing us all with fluoro jackets and basic instructions. The latter seemed to amount to little more than ‘make yourselves at home and have a good look round’. No ‘keep out of the room with the skull and crossbones on the door’ or ‘take a photo of that machine and we may have to release the dogs’. On the contrary, this was the mill tour equivalent of a pair of open arms and an AMA* on His intro was delivered from atop a very handy pair of stepladders – a piece of hardware that he rolled around with him and soon made perfect sense. The large turnout for the tour alone meant


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that making himself heard would have been a challenge. Though strangely he didn’t avail himself of them in the very first area we visited, the noisiest part of the expedition by a country mile. The tour kicked off with the Weaving Department, where we witnessed yarn loading, warping and winding, knotting and tying, and the weaving itself – followed by inspection of the woven base fabrics. James had warned that workers in this facility wore earmuffs for a reason, but even on our brief visit we found our delicate little shell-likes assailed by the din of 20 massive looms going hell for leather as they turned yarn into fabric. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. The looms currently work in two shifts, but if your ears can distinguish between 10 and 20 looms clackety clacking all at the same time, you’ve got better hearing than me. I think many of us were surprised to learn that Australia has no yarn producers at all and WCT relies on Thailand and Indonesia for its canvas yarns. The PVC coated yarns come from Italy, the tarpaulin commodity HT polyester yarns from China and the military fabric yarns from Vietnam and Taiwan. Our eyes may have been still feasting on the myriad wonders of the Weaving

Department, but our ears had probably had enough. So it was on to the next stage and James was shinning up his stepladders to introduce us to the PVC/Vinyl Department. This is where the PVC paste gets mixed together with all and any additives required for each fabric’s specifications. This can be anything from colour pigments to ultraviolet stabilisers, FR (flame resistant), anti-static or special food grade agents. Each application of the paste and/ or the lacquer treatment sees the yarn fed through an oven for curing. Although to the untrained eye, the most mesmerising point in the process is the gloop application. Sorry? That’s not the technical term? Well, I think I’ll stick with it, if you don’t mind. It just seems so… right. The Printing Department was next and James again took to his makeshift podium to explain the various processes currently in train at the facility. The two massive machines in this room were the striping machine – happily chugging away producing stripy canvases for tents and awnings country-wide – and the rotary screen printing machine. The latter was the object of most interest, as most of us lay folk simply couldn’t quite get our heads around the way it worked.

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Gloop application.

Currently busy printing multiple versions of camouflage fabrics on a possible military contract (fingers crossed), the machine consists of a series of rollers, each one applying another layer of ink to the already complicated pattern. But how does the ink get out? You can see it glooping (told you I was sticking with it) inside the rollers, but how it actually manages to apply itself to the fabric remained a mystery to many of us. Fascinating nonetheless. Oh, and that striping machine? Designed and built by the WCT Engineering team in-house – so an absolute one-off. Impressive, eh? Then it was on to Dante’s inferno – otherwise known as the Dyeing Department, where humongous great rolls of fabric are put through various processes of scouring and bleaching to remove all the cotton seed, weaving oils and lubricants, then washed to remove the bleach and dried. And all this before any dyeing can take place. Dante’s inferno? The roaring furnace in the drying machine that drew the eye and held it in all its fiery glory. WCT is particularly proud, James informed us, that it goes the extra mile with tent canvases for brands such as Coolabah and Billabong – putting them through the dyehouse before proofing, which makes the raw canvas much more absorbent, according to James. The fifth and final stage of production is the museum, sorry, the Finishing Department. That momentary slip was just a little reference to the presence here of the venerable waxing machine – WCT’s very first machine, also built in-house and which still holds a special place in the

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The venerable waxing machine.

The delightful Susan Pritchard in WCT’s lab.

company’s heart. This is where the dyed textiles come to receive a wax finish in order to make oilskin for such products as DrizaBone or RM Williams. Ah, at last all was revealed! Now we finally understood the reason for the curious company name… Also in the Finishing Department are the massive stenters – two multi-use machines that perform such roles as heat-setting base weaves for shrinkage control on Dynaproofed fabrics, padding on Teflon onto military Duracord fabrics or spread coating Gesso for pre-primed artist canvases. Then there are the finishing machines – brushing, sueding and pre-shrinking – before the bolts of fabric are rolled and packaged up for the warehouse. But, as Tim Shaw used to say on those Demtel commercials, “Wait there’s more…” Yes, James had one final location to show us. Squeezing through into a much smaller but airy room, he introduced us to the delightful Susan Pritchard, an ex-nurse,

now responsible for WCT’s lab. Here, every single fabric produced is tested for such things as weathering, air permeability, flex abrasion, water pressure and colour matching. We watched the intriguing Instron tear and tensile machine in action, a sight to behold indeed. We also pored over the Hydrostatic Head/water pressure tester, which surely could double as a coffee percolator if the kettle was on the blink? No? So much to see and such a comparatively short time to see it in. We bypassed the very last spot – the Customer Service and Finished Goods Warehouse, which receives orders, picks and packs, and sends out bulk batches of the finished fabrics – in order to return our fluoro jackets and head for the minibuses to return to the STA conference, much enlightened and even entertained. C *AMA – ‘ask me anything’, a common series of threads on the social network (ask your kids…)


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Miami Stainless


he blind anchor has taken many forms, including rope cleats, flush pulls and screw eyes. These methods often require chiselling awkward shapes for installation or they protrude from the ground causing a trip hazard. Blind anchors can detract from café décor because they are often exposed to the elements, making them prone to rust and sun damage. Too difficult and costly to replace, this product has been in need of a redesign that is made to last. Miami Stainless supplies many products that have been reinvented to improve functionality, strength and practicality. The ProRig® Café Blind Anchor comes in a modern-circle shape with a mirror polish finish to complement any décor. The design allows the anchor to sit flush with the surface to eliminate trip hazards and give a polished look. This product is made with high quality 316 marine grade stainless steel that has a higher resistance to rust, especially in coastal areas. The time consuming process of chipping away at concrete has been eliminated by designing a product that drops straight into a circular hole and

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is held in place with grout. The Miami Stainless Diamond Core Power Drill and Drill Bit are perfect for installing ProRig® Café Blind Anchors quickly and easily, which comes in handy for multiple installations. Once it is held in place, you have an extremely durable anchor point that has been tested to 900 kilograms

without deformation after just 24 hours of curing time. This fitting is compatable with standard snap hooks, bolt snaps and J-hooks available from Miami Stainless. Find more information online by visiting


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“WELL, LOOK AT THAT ... ” New graphics technologies in the US are offering marine fabricators practical and eye-catching options, writes Dara Syrkin.


ustomised graphics broadcast personality. “For many boat owners, boats become their babies,” says Rich Thompson, president of AdGraphics in Pompano Beach, Florida. Thompson also made a presentation at the annual Marine Fabricators Association (MFA) national convention in Charleston, South Carolina, in January. “They have an emotional attachment to their crafts. With the addition of graphics, boat owners can show off that pride. “If the boat is tied to their business, they can tout whatever pays for the boat, so owners add the company logo,” Thompson says. “Graphics are an inexpensive method to gain name recognition and may even be a tax write-off.” Whether the graphics are added for personalising or advertising, customers’ needs are similar, says Thad Bowes, marine division manager at Rainier Industries in Tukwila, Washington. “They want something that is going to look great, hold up in the marine environment and be reasonably priced.”

TECHNOLOGY MEETS CREATIVITY Advancements in textiles, processes and inks have made creativity in the realm of graphics easier than ever. “Up until a few years ago, owners were maybe adding some accents or placing a name on the boat’s hull,” says Bill McDaniel, marine market manager, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics in Glen Raven, North Carolina. “People relied on silk screen or embroidery – both expensive. Now, companies and individuals are personalising boots, cockpit and sail covers, adding logos

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and the boat’s name to fabrics, applying images of martini glasses or a photo of the dog – whatever suits.” Multiple markets are served by the addition of images. “Our retail business deals mostly with replacements,” says Jim Wilson, president of Great Lakes Boat Top Co and Westland Industries in Vonore, Tennessee. “We work primarily in the OEM market, putting logos and other branding material on biminis and campers, boots and bow, mooring and cockpit covers.” Wilson has applied graphics using silk-screen techniques for 25 years and has been embroidering for more than 15 years. Those applications are tapering, he says. “With today’s graphics technology, the sky is the limit and affordable, as well. We use a thermal substrate application. Customers can name any colour imaginable, any image. We can print logos, artwork, a picture of your boat. Your only limitation is budget,” he says.

MAKING GRAPHICS WORK Whether you carry out graphics projects in-house or work with a print shop, knowing your options leads to success. “In the past, we had to cut the letters out of fabric and zigzag stitch them on,” says Katie Bradford, MFC, IFM, owner of Custom Marine Canvas, Noank, Connecticut, of her in-house projects. “Not only was this timeconsuming, but limiting in the style and fonts that we could use. Sailmakers regularly used self-adhesive Dacron for this, which faded and got messy quickly. “Now we use FabTac adhesive stencils,” Bradford says. “Our local sign vendor cuts the stencil on the same machine that he uses to cut self-adhesive vinyl letters. With his

graphics capability, we can use any font that the customer wants. We can do multiple colours and outlines. The FabTac stencil is squeegeed to the acrylic fabric – before sewing – so that the fabric lies flat. The first coat of paint is the same as the background colour, to prevent bleeding of the final colour. Thin coats, dried quickly with a fan, work best. We do one coat of primer, then two topcoats. Regular latex paint works. We bring a fabric swatch to the local hardware store for colour matching. When it is dry, pull the stencil, and it looks great,” Bradford says. “The paint is colourfast and can be folded and creased without damage. “We concentrate mainly on adding the boat name to sail covers and name board covers,” Bradford says. “A boat name board is varnished gold leaf, so they can’t tolerate the sun, but covering it would obscure the name. We stencil the boat name in the same font as the gold leaf.” One option for printing graphics is Glen Raven’s Sunbrella Graphic System (SGS). McDaniel says the initial phase of SGS utilised 3M films to apply images, lettering and graphics, primarily to fixed awnings and banners. “Then we developed a thermally activated, digitally printable film that is aggressive enough to be used in the tough conditions of the boating world,” McDaniel says. The SGS film is a white substrate. Graphics, colour and images can be applied with inkjet printers. “The key to the SGS process is heat and suction – heat that doesn’t damage the fabric and creates a strong hold between fabric, adhesive and film,” adds McDaniel. In all print applications, ink is a major piece of the puzzle. “With continuous


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exposure, most inks fade outside in about a year here in Florida,” says AdGraphics’ Thompson. “But you can extend the life of your project to many years with the right ink and protection. There are a select few ink sets that can weather the elements.”

BRAVE THE UNKNOWN McDaniel says adding graphics is trending because it is affordable and provides a lasting product. “Fabricators will have to decide whether to own the equipment or forge a relationship with a graphics firm. Either way, offering the addition of graphics is a good way for marine fabricators to expand their business.” As with every new business step, fabricators can expect a learning curve. But, Bowes suggests, “So long as printing quality is predetermined, there’s really no reason to not accept these jobs. It’s about doing your homework and asking the right questions.” “Some fabricators may be hesitant to offer graphics because it is outside their comfort zone,” Thompson adds. “Fear of the unknown is valid: file formats are numerous, resolution can’t be too low, necessary fonts need to be included and so forth. It is a new set of challenges and potential headaches right out of the chute. But don’t fear, just as you specialise in what makes you good, there are others of us who specialise in what makes us good. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Capitalise on this growing market.” Thompson attests to market growth: “We’re getting calls from around the globe.” Bradford may even expand her customisation options. “Byron Yonce of TCT&A Industries [Urbana, Illinois] sent me some very nice samples of digital printing on acrylic,” she says. “I have them hanging in the showroom to get the idea process going. We are the


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only shop in our area offering the graphics, so when we make something special for a customer, the word spreads.” San Francisco fabricator Liz Diaz, MFC, takes calculated risks. “We as fabricators want to know how to do something before we offer it,” she says. “Over the years, I can count our graphics projects on one hand. So I’m gaining experience and looking forward to offering more options for graphics in the very near future,” says the owner of North Beach Marine Canvas. “Graphics are just another way to respond to customers’ desire to customise. “Adding graphics hybridises interior and graphic design – and is good business sense,” she says. “You have to have a really good eye. Graphics created with embroidery

can look like brocade. I can match the quality of the graphics to the quality of the fabric. If I work with a printer, I will work into the cost the calculated risks involved, ensuring profitability of the job. In the end, we convert expenses into marketing. Satisfied customers are the best advertising.” Dara Syrkin is a freelance writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This article first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Specialty Fabrics Review, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Reprinted with permission from the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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have sold are of a higher calibre. Two or three years ago, the average size boat was 40-foot, whereas now we are seeing the entry level boat is 40-foot and upgrades are more around the 50-foot mark. The owners are very laid back people who are happy to customise their new boat with local product. In saying that, they still are looking for value for money. They will keep you honest by getting other quotes and asking very specific questions about the product. They are happy to try new designs and products, but they research them well. Reinforcing this is the colours that are on trend at the moment. All shades of grey (Sunbrella silver, cadet grey and charcoal). Blue colours are definitely out and along with the greys are the ever-reliable white and off-whites, with the most outrageous colour being taupe (mushroom).

There may be a burgeoning industry in personalising craft for US owners, but there’s just as strong a movement here in Australia. Here three local fabricators talk about the current state of play in the local marine fabric industry, and discuss different colour trends as well as the types of embroidery, screen-printing and adhesive graphics they are adapting for use on their fabrics.


SHANE BEASHEL OF SB MARINE TRIMMING Types of customers Existing boat owners maintaining their boats – We are repairing a lot of covers to ‘keep them going’. A repair in the past was an emergency, whereas now it is to save money and get another season out of the cover. These people don’t get out on their boat much. Existing boat owners improving their boats – We find that this type of customer is quite comfortable with the need to keep their boat in good order. They want to change and improve the covers to enhance their boating experiences. These are the high usage boat owners. Existing boat owners upgrading and spending on their upgrade – These customers already own a boat, but can afford to buy a bigger boat. They have the money to comfortably buy and spend even more money on customising it to suit their needs. These are also high usage boat owners. New people entering boating in a new boat – I find this type of customer to be quite laid back and happy to be guided by what we have to offer. These people are living the dream.

State of play New motorboat sales are almost none existent. New yacht sales are steady in the range of 40 to 60 feet. The second-hand motorboat market is labouring. The secondhand yacht market is steady.

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We’ve found over the last year that the new boat buyer has been a buyer that has money that is real. I say ‘real’ because it’s money that they actually have, rather than money that is theoretical (projected equity). They are conservative people who have thought long and hard about what they want, so have a clear picture in their head. The same could be said for older boats too. The people who are spending money on maintaining their boats are very systematic about what they are doing and when. While new boat sales have declined, the boats that

In the yachting scene, canvas is still king for most covers with polyesters making inroads mainly on larger covers such as mooring covers and sail covers, as they are lightweight and have great abrasion resistance. For power boats, polycarbonate clear (rigid) is becoming more and more popular. Although the cost is substantially more than the traditional PVC, the poly offers supreme clarity and, if properly maintained, will stay clear for longer. Again, in both instances, this indicates a customer wanting good quality for an honest price.

To conclude I guess what I’m trying to say is that the people who have money to spend on their boat are conservative people who didn’t suffer the losses through the global financial crisis (GFC) that others may have. Our customers are really appreciating the quality that they receive and if this quality is sold to them correctly, they are happy to pay for it.


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NEIL HANCOCK, DIRECTOR, AUSSIE BOAT COVERS We were asked to create a consistent theme for the owner that identified his vessel in many different applications. The brief started with embroidered mooring covers that protected the boat from scratches right through to embroidered bathrobes for visiting guests. When the job was completed, we had embroidered mooring line covers, loose throw cushions, bath, beach and hand towels, bathrobes and supplied a bar runner with the same logo. The reason for the extensive work was to remind the owner and his family of where they had come from and give them an instant connection with their place of birth, while they enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Our clients are very passionate about the lifestyle that boating gives them and often feel humbled with their achievement – personalising their vessels increases that feeling tenfold. When we talk about trends, a lot of the time they are stimulated by new generations of boat owners who wish to bring their lifestyle to our industry and, as an industry, we need to embrace that and look to nurture those new boat owners who will continue to push our thoughts, so we can be part of a changing industry. We are currently seeing a lot of colourful fabrics being used on flybridge and cockpit seating to create a comfort and relaxed feel for those owners, and that’s exciting.

FOR SALE Established in 1995, Top Trim P/L is a small to medium volume production manufacturing company. They manufacture canvas and vinyl products for the caravanning & recreational vehicle market, automotive, marine, & health industries. They have an existing client base throughout Australia. One product is also shipped worldwide. Combine this with a custom made automotive & marine trimming service which services the local market. Top Trim has long term staff with excellent knowledge base & skills (giving owners’ ability to go on holidays). Staff are also prepared to stay on with new owners. A purpose built warehouse and flexible lease terms make this extremely well organized leasehold very attractive. Current owners prepared to stay on to train if required.

44 Bailey St, Bairnsdale

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Price: $375,000 + SAV Good return on investment.

(03) 5152 3311

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DAVE OF DAVIDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CUSTOM TRIMMERS A big thing in the future will be fabrics that put out power, like solar panels. The yachties will love this sort of thing. I tend a lot towards light colours to keep the boat cool in our Queensland climate. I use white Stamoid open on Yacht Dodgers as it can blend in with the gel coat. There are other good colour options in Sunbrella for free standing sail covers or biminis. Self-cleaning coatings such as PTFE will be a must with boats in big cities as the aviation kerosene fallout is a big killer of fabrics and clears. Other accessories weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeing more of are things like LED lights in, say, the binding, so under the canopy or awning can light up the cockpit. C

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Colourways is Australasiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go-to authority for the latest trends, new products and design inspirations specific to our corner of the globe. Established by the Design Institute of Australia, Colourways produces an annual Trend Forecast, which identifies and delivers the latest trend developments for colour, material and finishes. Here, Kim Chadwick from Colourways, reveals what the specialised textiles industry can expect to see in this area in the near future.

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olourways is a collaboration between research and science, manufacturing and supply, building and development, design and architecture, education and emerging talent, retail and consumers and, advertising and media. Leaders in each industry come together for the two-day annual Workshop to share industry insights, problems and opportunities, solutions and inspirations. Over 1000 products were tabled at the 2013 Colourways Trend Forecast Workshops held in Melbourne and Auckland. From these, 92 products


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representing four trend stories were selected for this year’s Trend Forecast Kit, a tool that guides product development, marketing and specification. One of the key trends is textiles – texture, structure, tactility. From furniture wrapping to kitchen laminates, the simple woven structure of a fabric is being celebrated.

BACK TO THE FUTURE Pioneering Spirit is a palette of soft blues, greys and buttermilk creams. It pays homage to the pioneers of our nation who worked hard to live off the land. It recognises a time when everything was used. Everything that exists can be recreated and loved again as something new. Think about the simple honesty of hewn wood. The strength and endurance of homespun wool. Like the land, the products are true, raw and made to last. The fabrics celebrate their woven or felted structure; timber its grain; concrete its

flaws and patterning salutes the heritage of tessellated tiles and woollen blankets. Think Ned Kelly, beards and maidens… And then man made machines.

BACK TO THE FUTURE II Industrial Evolution embraces the dark beauty of smithies, foundries and forges intermingled with the revivified colour of green. In a time when modern building becomes lighter and faster, we are gaining a deeper respect for the solidity of the buildings of yesterday. The surest and most trusted foundations are built on the bones of the past. We treasure the strength of old walls and delight in reclaiming and reinventing them. The products in this story have a sense of age and patina. Old is new. Tiles, brick, paint and laminates are coated with a layer of molten metal. Fabrics have gleaming threads, and the mottled greens of soapstone are paints and ceramic glazes, all perfectly suited to exteriors.

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Sunday Matinee is a colour story. Soft dusty pastels reminiscent of Australia in the 1950s. We are all nostalgically familiar with this era, when the kitchen became the stage for a better lifestyle. Colour and decoration were created by our local ceramicists and textile designers. And our burgeoning tourist industry saw the introduction of souvenirs and the embracing of our unique culture – kookaburras and boomerangs, caravans and picnics and, of course, the Sunday matinee. This trend will be seen in interiors, in our kitchens, our homewares and soft furnishings.

Byzantine Princess features the pigments used in Byzantian paintings and the colours and metals that embellished medieval cathedrals came from the earth. This palette is true colour, rich and intense. Copper and bronze, gold mosaics, silks hand dyed in Indigo, madder and tea, rich burgundy, lapis lazuli, pearl soft creams, gems and dragon treasures. The trend captures something we all need. A little time to ourselves and a little luxury. Not excessive or wanton, but oh so heavenly and exquisite. Imagine being a

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princess locked away in a tower with time to wish and time to dream. Byzantine Princess is a new palette that will be used both internally and externally. The intensity and richness of the colours are offset by soft creams – yes – the first move away from pure white we have seen in a few years. The detailing in many of the products suggests the artisan has met with technology, and we are ready for more decorative finishes than ever before. Colourways is a licensed program of the Design Institute of Australia.


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COLOUR MY WORLD Melissa Vine from The Shann Group has attended several Colourways workshops. Here she explains how what she learned there benefited her business and why perhaps you might consider attending a workshop too.

Why did you get involved? To represent our industry and to influence and contribute to the coming season’s colour forecast. To collaborate and to share information on trends and palettes with the design community.

What sort of things did you learn? New innovations, influential factors and design considerations for specific industries from industry experts.

How were you able to integrate what you learned there into your business? Finalised colour palettes and textural trends provided direction for new product ranges.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience with Colourways? I was involved with Colourways for a number of years as part of my product development role with a fabric and floor covering manufacturer, textiles designed for commercial interiors, automotive and marine.


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What sort of feedback, if any, have you received from customers or clients regarding the colour choices you make? At The Shann Group we engage our customers early on regarding new product developments and direction (colour and texture), making sure our range meets their

(and their customers’) needs from a form and functionality point of view. That way, by the time the product gets to market it’s been well tried and tested.

Do you think colours and trends in fashion and furnishings, generally, are reflected in what we see in the specialised textiles industry – especially shades, awnings, marine and leisure equipment fittings etc? Absolutely. It definitely takes more time to filter down to the more permanent fixtures, such as awnings and window treatments; however, their presence or popularity comes as a direct result of trends being seen in fashion and furnishings. Think of more recent trends over the last few years, the influx of metallics and reflective surfaces, all of which can now be seen in awning fabrics, window and blind fabrics, the extended colour palette, special effects and the tactile look of products like aluminium composite panel.

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What about timing? Do we see the most modern colour and fabric trends reflected in our industry immediately? Or is there a delay? If so, why? Generally it takes around 12 months for fashion to filter to homewares and spreads from there. Digital print media would be the first of our industries to show the new colour and design trends; the industry is more dynamic, immediate and, in a lot of cases, the applications are temporary, which makes it more fluid and easier to adopt and integrate new directions. For applications that are more permanent and are a bigger investment decision, consumers need time for the new colours and trends to register on their

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radar. They need to have an opportunity to view them in other mediums, as accents or features before they become more mainstream and accepted.

How influenced are we by overseas trends? Overseas trends are always reviewed when looking to future direction and advancements, but palettes from Europe or North America are not easily transplanted here. Fabrics are generally brighter across Europe and Americans are still opting for safe colours, beiges, camels and blues, to feel safety and comfort. It is our unique environment and landscape that dictates Australia’s direction.

Would you recommend attending a Colourways workshop to other fabricators and manufacturers? You have to come prepared to Colourways! Have your palette ready, the palette that reflects your industries and where you think that colour direction is heading and be prepared to state your case for that palette. In the past, you had to be a member of the DIA (Design Institute of Australia) to participate in Colourways. However, a recent decision to allow non-members to participate will really open the forum to more participants, generating a lot more discussion and collaboration from a much wider cross section of business. For manufacturers it’s a great way to get involved, to be a voice for your industry/ products and influence emerging trends. If contribution via the workshop is not feasible, it’s still possible to benefit from the collaborations created at Colourways by accessing the Findings Kit and using that as part of design considerations for new ranges. C


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he first Australian Marine Fabricators’ regional workshop was hosted by Dave and Andrea Elliott from David’s Custom Trimmers in Brisbane, on 20 and 21 May this year. The attendees came from all over Australia and the world, and everyone concluded that it was thoroughly worthwhile and needed to be continued right across the country. Dave Elliott is widely referred to as having no peer when it comes to the vision, design, construction and delivery of marine fabrics, and he should be applauded for openly offering tips and advice to help promote excellence in an industry that he and many others are passionate about. His energy and passion ignited many attendees to strive to achieve greater heights in their businesses.


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The workshop embraced all attendees, which included both fabricators and suppliers, and challenged them to work together to strive for quality. Having suppliers participate in the workshop activities gave them an appreciation of how passionate we as fabricators are about our endeavours. At the same time, the fabricators’ appreciation of the relationship of their choice is reflected in demand and availability. Plus, by communicating in an equal and open environment, common goals can be discussed, planned for and achieved. Events like this take a lot of planning and preparation, and I thank all those involved on the fabricators’ committee – Dave, Aaron, Shane, Nigel, Tom and Abbey – for your vision and support. Thank you also to all the attendees, suppliers and fabricators, who offered wonderful

feedback and enthusiasm for the future. The lady behind the camera was Kym Smith and when you all see her next, you can thank her yourself for making us look good. Cheers, Kym! Events like this can only happen with the support of a strong well-led association and STA is that association and Ana Drougas deserves all the applause for putting up with us. Last but not least, thanks to Andrea Elliott for keeping us hydrated and fed – you and Dave make an awesome team. The future looks exciting for all who wish to be involved – Perth 12 and 13 October, San Francisco MFA Convention January 2015 and then back on the Gold Coast May 2015… Get on board and let me leave you with one thought from the workshop: “People remember quality, not price.”

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CO-OPERTITION Gore Vidal once said, “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.” But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Daniel Halse, managing director of Pattons, and he’s made up a whole new word to explain what he means. ‘Co-opertition’ is that very special space that sits between cooperation and competition.

“Who is your competition?” “We don’t have any,” I say, whenever asked. Inevitably, the asker elaborates, “No, with whom do you compete for work?” “We do not compete with anyone, as there is plenty of work around for all of us,” I reply.

COMPETITION IS DEAD I do not use the word competition. This industry (the specialist textile industry) is so diverse and we have so many people that are really good at what they do, it would be counterproductive to compete against one another. When looking for an analogy to further explain my attempt at the adoption of a new word, I cannot come up with anything, not even in sport. It’s more of a mindset than a blanket rule. It’s a positive way to look at our unique industry, as opposed to thinking everyone is against you doing well.

THE POWER OF YOUR NETWORK Since becoming a member of the STA I have not felt alone in business. For

example, recently I rang a ‘competitor’ to ask about his experience with an HF (high frequency) welder we are looking at buying. It’s a big decision for us, a large financial outlay on a piece of equipment that we have no experience in using. To buy it without researching how it is going to impact our business would be too risky to even consider. The feedback from the business we ‘compete’ against was honest and unbiased, and has given me the confidence equivalent to using the machine myself. I have taken the car for a test drive without driving anywhere. We are working with a company in another state on a job we were both in the running to get. When we found out we were ‘competing’ against this company, we rang them and worked out who would get the job and who was doing what components of the job. We are doing what we are good at and where our margin is greatest, and likewise for them. It’s a win/win without the risk.

Daniel Halse Managing director Pattons

I NEED ALL THE WORK I CAN GET In an ideal world, we could pick and choose with whom and on what we would work. But that seems like a dream clouded by the pressure to pay the bills. I have seen companies in this industry that make more money by passing work onto their competitors, instead of drowning in a pool of variety. Are you a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none?

IN THE BUSH With a limited customer base that is physically located outside the big city centres, you may think your ability to pick and choose what you do is limited. Are you still establishing your business to be in the position to choose with whom you want to work? I know that if you talk to others in the industry, you will more quickly find a way to get your business (and thus your life) into a position of controlling what you do and with whom you work. Don’t just look in your own backyard. Travelling for jobs can be surprisingly

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Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it. cost-effective. It can enable you to do more of what you like doing and specialise in for a client (a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;competitorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;) in the city or in another state. Look around and think about what it is you want to do more of and look for opportunities to do it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they may be in places you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect. You may be surprised what happens when you ask those questions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; surprised at what comes your way, that is.

YOUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE NOT ALONE Come to an STA gathering (or walk into someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workshop) and talk to people in the same situation as yourself. Tell them what you do, how, where and, most importantly, why you do it. The chances are you will find kindred spirits you can work with, not against. In the end, we will all win and our lives will be better off for having done so. C PLASTIC WELDING

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A CHAT WITH FRANK HAMMOND Frank Hammond is a bit of a legend in the yachting world. The sailmaker and passionate yachtsman has been making his mark on the industry for over 40 years and doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. CONNIE HELLYAR meets a man who says he’s never done a day’s work in his life...

When asked, “What has motivated you all these years?” his reply is simple. “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life”. Yacht sails and marine servicing has always been the core component of the business, but, as time has gone by, the scope has evolved to include shade structures, pool covers and various other products. Frank sees an opportunity and goes for it. He has invested in technology and equipment and looks outside the square to see how the equipment can pay for itself. Frank Hammond (right) David Stevens, Eagle Canvas.


hen I agreed to do a short article on Frank Hammond, I just knew that it was going to be entertaining and I wasn’t disappointed. Anyone who knows Frank will understand where I’m coming from. A simple question of “What gets you up each morning?” is answered with “Trish’s snoring”. He’s cheeky, funny and always has a joke to share, but when it comes to work he certainly takes his job seriously. Frank was born and bred in Western Australia. An opportunity arose when Rolly Tasker invited him to come to Melbourne to do sales and servicing. With that he was off to begin what was and still is his passion. Frank Hammond Sails opened its doors in 1968 in South Yarra, starting out manufacturing yacht sails and servicing, but as the business grew so did the need for larger premises and staff. The next move was to St Kilda. At the peak there were 18 employees, which just goes to show how busy things became. In 1980, the company became part of the Horizon International franchise group, thus becoming Horizon Sailmakers, which is now located in the bayside suburb of Sandringham.


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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Frank feels the country must now embrace “new industries, new markets and new jobs”. He is adamant that Australia can still be a country that “makes things”. The prospects for our industry are excellent, he believes. “Australians are smart, innovative and creative,” says Frank. “We have the ability to grow our industry sector and the time in which to do it. Quality will override imports in the end.” When I question him about his greatest achievement, he doesn’t hesitate to say Trish and the family, and if he has any regrets at all, it is that he didn’t spend as much time with them as he should have done when the family were growing up. He now has six gorgeous grandchildren and thoroughly enjoys his opportunities to spend quality time with them whenever possible. Regarding the industry though, he believes that the specialised textiles industry is just that: special. He says that the camaraderie and friendship that come out of the STA (Specialised Textiles Association) are unique. There aren’t too many industries where business rivals can get together and have a beer and a chat and compare notes. “We can ask questions and find answers,” he says.

YACHT RACE OR COUPLES COUNSELLING? Over the years, Frank has continued to enjoy his love of sailing. Although he doesn’t mention this next story, I do manage to find some interesting information on Google. (What did we do before Google came along?) This little gem comes from a 2003 report on Australia’s website ( “Most couples couldn’t think of anything worse than racing in the same yacht as their spouse, but this year at Hamilton Island, three couples will be using one of the most competitive sailing events in Australia to save their marriages. Victorian sailmaker Frank Hammond will be racing the 45-foot yacht, Reveille, in the competitive Premier Cruising class of the Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island from 16 to 23 August. Frank will have his wife Trish by his side, as well as two accomplished American sailing couples. ‘The Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island will provide the platform for a very rare and ambitious undertaking in the sailing marine industry – we are using it to save our marriages,’ said Frank. “Sailing on board Reveille with Frank and Trish will be renowned US yacht designer and multiple winner of the single-handed division of the Trans Pacific Yacht Race (Los Angeles to Hawaii), Dan Newland and his wife Linda, who has also competed successfully in the Transpac and other international races with an all-female crew. Completing the crew will be American sailors Craig and Sue Riley. Craig Riley is the CEO of a US company called Composite Materials Inc, which provides technical advice and suppliers to America’s Cup syndicates. “The Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island is one of the most prestigious sailing events in the world.

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This year, the regatta celebrates its 20th anniversary and is expecting a record fleet.”

HOW FRANK MADE THE HEADLINES IN THE 1980S One night after a few cheeky ales, Frank and his friends thought it would be fun to see if it would be possible to open a yacht club in Alice Springs. Now everything seems feasible when you have imbibed a few, but once again Frank was not going to be deterred. With that in mind, he set about making the impossible, possible. Accordingly, he designed a cross between a dinghy and a go-kart, which could reach speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour. Known as land yachting, this sport had been around since the turn of the century with interesting variations on sand and ice. The Algerians and British have raced sand yachts mounted on wheels across the Sahara, while the Latvians and Dutch have sped them on skates across the ice. On both terrains, the basic structure is the same – a solid steel frame and a lightweight mast. Frank thought that this would be a really great idea for Aussies and so, in 1978,

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he redesigned the concept for Australian conditions. Hey presto, a yacht club in Alice Springs was born. Students at Preston Technical School (in the north-east Melbourne suburb) then started projects to build their own. A club was started and the first Australian Land Yachting Titles were held in Tasmania in February 1980. They were cheaper than yachts for sailing, they could be used in winter and were easy to transport on roof racks. The yachts could be bought and assembled from around $700 back then and do-ityourself enthusiasts could build them from scratch for around $400. The majority of enthusiasts built their own, but Frank said most people didn’t realise how fast they could go and underestimated the strength required. The whole unit consisted of a triangular, tubular steel frame mounted on three 20-centimetre wheels, one at each apex. The mast and boom were tubular aluminium and the sail was nylon. One or two lightweight fibreglass seats were mounted on the frame and the steering was a simple foot control system. Seat belts were important and crash helmets a given.

THE GREAT PETERSVILLE REGATTA Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip That started from this Melbourne port Aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailing man, The skipper brave and sure. Two old salts set sail that day For a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour. The weather started getting rough, The tiny ship was tossed, If not for the courage of Frank Hammond and his crew Great Expectations would be lost. This amazing piece of photography won the Sports Photo of the Year, among other prizes for this rooky photographer from The Age. Apparently he went to the wrong marina to get on-board the media boat and, as luck would have it, someone kindly offered to take him over in their boat. As they were travelling out, disaster struck Great Expectations when another boat lost control and rammed straight into it, taking Frank with it. The boat sank, Frank ended up on hospital and the photographer lived happily ever after. C


25/08/2014 1:27 pm



Upcoming events for the Specialised Textiles Industry

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STA MEMBER INFORMATION SESSIONS Sydney 16 September 2014 Brisbane 28 October 2014 Open to all in the industry (members and non-members) Registrations can be made online via the Events page on



13 to 16 October 2014 Minneapolis Convention Centre Minneapolis, Minnesota US



For further information go to

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STA’S CHRISTMAS CHEERS 25 November 2014 A once-a-year national event to celebrate our diverse industry – taking place at the same

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time, on the same day, in a different location (in a major capital city near you). Register to attend at

2015 MFA NATIONAL CONVENTION 15 to 17 January 2015 Oakland, California US For further information go to

SPECTEX15 27 to 29 June 2015 The Specialised Textiles Association (STA) 2015 Trade Exhibition and Conference Melbourne Exhibition Centre Educational programs and high profile speakers along with the traditional and innovative

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trade displays. An extensive and exciting program will take place in 2015 with an emphasis on the trade exhibition and hands-on workshops, as well as speaker sessions with topics


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specifically relevant to the textiles industry. Sponsor, exhibit, attend and celebrate 75 years in the making of an association and industry. For further information phone the STA office on 03 9521 2114 or go to


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Connections Spring 2014  

The Official Magazine of the Specialised Textiles Association

Connections Spring 2014  

The Official Magazine of the Specialised Textiles Association