BRANCHING OUT: Designer Romina Vella and Bruce Humphrey-Smith are diversifying their business and launching Rural Made Merino.
BRANCHING OUT: Designer Romina Vella and Bruce Humphrey-Smith are diversifying their business and launching Rural Made Merino.

Winery launches innovative new clothing line

THE drive for Australian made products during the height of the pandemic has inspired one Granite Belt winery to step into new territory and launch a clothing line.

Rural Australia Merino was born at the closure of Severn Brae Estate’s cellar door in March, capitalising on its proximity to quality wool from the Traprock region.

Owner Bruce Humphrey-Smith said diversifying the business to stay afloat was one he believed would work.

“Without being unkind to Asia, I think there’s a big movement for people wanting locally-produced products,” he said.

“Our plan is long-term; we can take locally-produced wool, turn it into fabric and then clothing.”

Mr Humphrey-Smith said he was mindful of the difficulties farmers faced in the ongoing drought.

“It’s meant people need to be smarter with their wool,” he said.

“They’re not producing the quantity, I believe they’re producing the quality, but the long-term opportunity is that if there’s less wool, we need to be smarter with it and make better quality.”

The clothing line features two collections; a traditional, classic collection and a fun collection.

Italian designer Romina Vella said her designs favoured practical, everyday styles.

“My clients normally say that they can’t find simple and comfortable clothes,” Ms Vella said.

“The designs and prototype come from me, because I need to looking into the durability.”

The line, while in its early stages, is expected to be stocked in stores in Stanthorpe, Toowoomba, Dalby, Warwick and Goondiwindi.

Mr Humphrey-Smith said he hoped the line would be well received locally before expanding internationally.

“We want to see if there is interest in what we are doing,” he said.

“But we’re currently looking at offering that range in Italy and Europe.

“Because I think people know Australian wool but not the Australian-made version of the clothing.”

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