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WoolOn chairwoman Victoria Ravenscroft said entries close on April 30, but garments did not need to be handed in until July 19.
Almost 40 entries have been received so far for the annual fashion awards, which will be held in Alexandra over two nights on August 30 and 31.
Ms Ravenscroft said a ''good proportion'' of entrants so far were newcomers, and it was hoped more school pupils would enter the new $1000 schools award.
The supreme award is worth $5000.
Ms Ravenscroft said it was believed a surge in popularity of natural fibre was helping drive interest in this year's event.
''Encouraging people into wool fashion is a big part of what we do. There is so much innovation going on at the moment around what can be done with wool and other natural fibres. More and more, the experts are singing its praises in terms of green credentials.''
A new role of educational specialist had been established for this year's event, she said.
The role was filled by Mary Hinsen, a Cromwell-based photographer with a background in fashion, adult education and youth and workplace mentoring. She can work with entrants to help them turn a concept ''into a workable catwalk garment''.
The judges for this event will be Simon Swale, of Otago Polytechnic's fashion school; Jamie Richards, a dress designer, of Clyde; and Jenny Kelly, a wool industry marketer, of Christchurch.