The gala event of the New-England based Fleece to Fashion Awards has been pushed back until November due to COVID-19 restrictions impacting Australia's eastern states.
The event was due to be held at the iconic Deeargee Woolshed near Uralla NSW in September but COVID-19 outbreaks in NSW and Victoria have caused the change.
Fleece to Fashion chairman Lachlan Fulloon of Cressbrook Merinos, Armidale, NSW said the board has taken the difficult decision to postpone the flagship wool fashion event with the hope that current restrictions will have eased in several months.
"Given the latest outbreaks of COVID-19 placing several key cities and regions into lockdown, we believe it to be a prudent decision to postpone our awards and allow for these difficult and uncertain times to pass," he said.
"This will allow full participation from our judges, sponsors, entrants and indeed, the wider community when restrictions ease..
"We believe the right thing to do is to reset our timeline for November - ideally, there will be a greater number of people vaccinated by then and events like ours, which bring many people to our region, will be able to go ahead safely and unencumbered."
Formerly known as The Australian Wool Fashion Awards, the Fleece to Fashion awards aim to encourage young and aspiring designers to use wool and to promote the virtues of wool fashion.
Mr Fulloon said there has been a great deal of enthusiasm in the lead-up to the 2021 awards.
"For several reasons, we have seen such an encouraging number of people wanting to buy tickets to our event," he said.
"With our pivot to a new, iconic venue, the famous Deeargee Woolshed, and the lack of functions altogether in recent times, there has been pent-up demand to attend events like ours.
"People are keen to don the black tie, get together with friends, catch up with those in the industry, and enjoy some high-class entertainment."
Tickets for the 2021 awards will be released for sale in the coming weeks, with event preparations and entries already well underway.
"We realise how important events like ours are for regional tourism, bringing visitors to the beautiful New England and promoting what is on offer here," Mr Fulloon said.
"As wool producers, to sure-up demand for our wonderful product, wool fashion events are critical to encourage the next wave of designers to embrace our fibre.
"We'll be doing everything we can do deliver a superb - and safe - outcome for 2021."
The re-scheduled event is due to take place on November 19-20.
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