Grazed on Greatness

13 June 2012

Grazed on greatness, threaded with victory and worn with the utmost pride - Australian Merino sheep are helping the Australian cricket team continue to look and feel great across the world. And it all started with a patch of hallowed turf from the Sydney Cricket Ground.


Australian Test cricketer Shane Watson and an Australian Merino featured on advertising for Woolmark licensee M.J. Bale’s Grazed on Greatness campaign
Australian Test cricketer Shane Watson and an Australian Merino featured on advertising for Woolmark licensee M.J. Bale’s Grazed on Greatness campaign.

Official tailor to the Australian cricket team M.J. Bale has created unique suiting made from pure Merino wool, from a unique flock of sheep. The sheep have been grazing on grass which has witnessed more Australian cricketing successes than any other patch of grass on the planet.

The creative team behind this idea isn’t spinning a yarn, and to help share the story of the relationship between M.J. Bale and the Australian cricket team a short documentary titled Grazed on Greatness has been made.

It stars Australian cricketer Shane Watson and veterans Michael Slater and Dougie Walters along with superfine Merino woolgrower Bill Mitchell.

Last year turf samples were taken from the SCG, with specific instructions from the ground’s head curator Tom Parker on how to regrow it.

“We took a plug of turf out of the surface of the SCG, and what we do with that grass is called vegetative propagation,” Mr Parker said. “You start with an area of around ten square metres, plant those pieces of grass in there and then as they get bigger plant some more and then some more.

“There’s really no limit as to how much grass you can grow out of that piece of turf if you look after it correctly and put the time in to it.”

And off to NSW’s north-west the grass travelled, to Bill Mitchell’s Armidale property.

“I was given specific instructions how to plant it in one corner and expand it out across the paddock to get it to grazing stage,” the superfine woolgrower explained, who admitted he was a “little sceptical” during the initial planning stages of the scheme.

“We all know good grass grows good wool, but we didn’t really think grass from the SCG could be that much better and make enough suits for the whole Australian cricket team,” Mr Mitchell said.

Australian Test cricketer Shane Watson swapped his baggy green to don the first superfine Merino wool suit threaded with victory. Having played 32 Tests representing his country, Watson said he felt like a winner the moment he slipped into the maiden suit to come out from this partnership and wrap himself in history.

“It’s a very special feeling because you know where the wool has come from,” Watson said.

“High performance sheep, high performance suits ... this is the first suit threaded with victory, I feel like a winner.”

Creating custom-made pure wool suits for the Australian cricket team along with other high-profile and celebrity personalities, M.J. Bale embraces principles of character, provenance and authenticity and respects the supply chain from where the world’s finest raw material come from.

Based in Sydney, the tailor’s supply chain begins in the paddocks of regional Australia and stretches to the centuries-old textile mills of Northern Italy and sartorial workshops of Japan. M.J. Bale founder Matt Jensen said all suits created were made from the highest quality materials and mixed with an obsession for functional design, comfort and fit.

“This means each of our garments is engineered to perform,” Mr Jensen said.

“Likewise we’re hoping our new wool suits threaded with victory help the Australian cricket team’s performance.

“We’re proud of Grazed on Greatness not only for supporting the Australian cricket team, but because we feel it will capture people’s imaginations and prove what we wear is more than just about function; what we wear can make us feel good.”

M.J. Bale is a Woolmark licensee and is a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, a campaign spearheaded by HRH the Prince of Wales and one which endeavours to tell the story of wool right across the world.

The Bale Trail

Australian retailer M.J. Bale places great importance on provenance, authenticity and integrity of high-quality raw materials and these qualities run deep through the heart of their business.

The Bale Trail is the story of the provenance of M.J. Bale’s suiting garments, from the paddocks of the New England region in Australia, through the famed fabric mills of Biella, Italy, to their sartorial workshops in Japan, and finally to the M.J. Bale stores.

This global supply chain model allows M.J. Bale to create beautiful wool garments of functional design, comfort, performance and fit.

To celebrate this process and to educate consumers as to the importance of provenance, M.J. Bale has created, with support from The Woolmark Company, three films that document the Bale Trail from New England to Italy to Japan.