A MANAGEMENT shake up at The Australian Wool Fashion Awards will see the iconic Armidale event leave the city for Tamworth.
Country Living Group is taking over the awards, which have traditionally seen emerging designers from New England and further afield converge on Armidale for the gala event.
Liz Foster started the awards in the 1980s and they have been a highlight of the Armidale social calendar ever since.
In the event’s 33-year history, there have been a few occasions where the awards have been held in Sydney, however, for the most part venues such as Saumarez Homestead and Petersons Winery have played host.
But this year will see the awards make a more permanent move to Tamworth, where Country Living Group is based.
Ms Foster said the event had kept growing and there had been difficulties in securing big enough venues in Armidale.
“I don’t want it to die after putting 30 years of my life into it,” she said.
“Tamworth Town Hall seats a lot more than we’ve had for the past few years in Armidale.
“I’m very happy about the move.”
The Country Living Group is known for publishing Country Living magazine.
Publisher Jason Farr said they planned to make it a big gala event with celebrity guests and Tamworth was a better choice of location. Mr Farr said the move was positive because they wanted to have the event “ongoing, rather than having it going in the opposite direction”.
Mr Farr said the infrastructure of the Tamworth airport and more accommodation were also key factors to making the move.
“Tamworth Council has been very supportive of the event,” he said.
The takeover will see a slight name change to Australian Wool Fashion, with Country Living magazine to publish a special edition to tie in with the event, to be held on July 18.
Ms Foster will continue as the coordinator of the event and said the July date also necessitated the change of location as it would be too cold to be outside in Armidale.
“I actually think it’s better in the winter because people will be able to wear their wool,” she said.
Existing models and helpers from Armidale will have the opportunity to continue helping with the event.
Auditions for new models will be held in Armidale and Tamworth.