Jude is a knitwear label that evokes a wholesome and idyllic way of life; a world created by Ali Wanchap Wood, inspired by her wool-producing family heritage to design beautiful Australian made knitwear, using the finest quality Australian wool. Its time to bring good quality wool back into everyday life.
Ali’s love and appreciation for knitwear and Australian wool stems from her beloved childhood experiences on her family’s farms in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland. Jude was born as an idea inspired by a few key members of her family, however none more so than her dear grandmother Barbara, who throughout the 1980s ran her own hand-spun and hand-made knitwear label called Shirbaa, with her sister-in-law Shirley.
Selling their products at country shows, charity event days and art and craft days in the New England area of northern NSW, Shirbaa developed quite a following, with jumpers selling for around $400 each, many of which made to order for their loyal customers.
Barbara is the wife of a wool farmer, who, during shearing season would cook for their workers in the shearer’s quarters at their property Kaloola outside Tenterfield, NSW, with scones in the wood fire stove and lamb stew on the cook top, beside a pot of her carefully selected wool from the day’s shears, ready to boil and dye, to then be hand spun and knitted for Shirbaa.
For many years Ali has craved to create high quality products with Australian wool that honours her bush heritage, whilst encapsulating modern Australian lifestyle, and bringing beautiful quality wool back into everyday life. The brand and all the products in the collection are named after significant elements of her family history – including people, places and even beloved horses – with each piece coming together to tell the story of Ali’s treasured family heritage.
Jude’s ethos is to create products made in Australia from the best quality Australian Merino Wool, a product that is considered by many to be the best wool in the world. Its production is a deeply entrenched and proud element of Australian heritage, however this rich bush culture of days gone by is sadly fading. A key motivation behind Jude is to help reinvigorate the perception of wool, not only on a level of luxury, but bring it back into everyday life, and to contribute – if only a little – to keeping Australian farmers producing wool.
The outlook for the brand is to maintain Jude as an Australian made company, evolving the brand into a lifestyle, placing great importance on quality and substance, and creating products that are functional yet luxurious; simple, yet enduring.
I am so grateful that some of my greatest inspirations in life have been with me since the day I was born. I have been privileged enough to be surrounded by creative, hard working people in my family, feet firmly planted in the dirt of the Australian bush. Out of this proud bush heritage has blossomed my great love for wool and has set me on this journey of passion.
Jude products are for those who place importance on quality, who crave fuss-free luxury and loves getting back to basics. I am completely enamoured with everything about Australian wool – the history, the heritage and the incredible benefits of this remarkable product. I hope you enjoy cuddling up to it as much as I do.
– Ali Wanchap Wood