Australian wool growers have joined forces with two leading US retailers as part of a wool marketing campaign that hopes to tap into the United States' billion dollar apparel sector.

The industry-backed Test Marketing Project (TMP) has signed up luxury high-end retailer Saks Fifth Avenue and mid to upper-tier retailer Dillards to try to increase the number of high-end woollen garments sold to consumers.

Andrew Jennings, president and COO of Saks, said: "Saks Fifth Avenue is committed to launching a new private label women's trouser line in the finest wool. We are confident if we educate the consumer and create excitement around wool, this programme will be an enormous success."

Brenda McGahan is project director of the Melbourne-based TMP - a collaboration between the International Wool Textiles Organisation (IWTO), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Australian Wool Services (AWS) owner of the Woolmark.

She said: "We chose the US for the test programme because we wanted to target regions with a high incidence of consumers, with high disposable income and disposition to buy quality clothes.

"It is one of what we term, four super regions for wool consumption that are potentially worth more than US$500bn dollars at the retail level."

Dillard's will play an important role in delivering volume sales for wool apparel, and will initially focus on private label men's wear in the southern US to help us reinforce that wool is a year-round fabric.

Saks Fifth Avenue will begin an advertising campaign in September called 'Want-it,' which will aim to position wool as a must-have luxury item.