Sustainability has been considered an absolute buzzword in the fashion industry since the growing awareness of fair consumption. Increased consumer concern over climate change and a desire for complete transparency has challenged every brand to rethink their approach to business and best practice. This includes their material choices.
With a heritage stretching back to 10,000 BC, wool is a fiber that has withstood the tests of time and fashion. Naturally hard-wearing and long-lasting, wool comes from sheep farmed across the world and its thermal and sustainable qualities are highly valued. And now the affinity for the all-rounder fiber seems to be increasing rapidly. No wonder, since merino wool holds an outstanding number of benefits compared to other natural fibers.
Here some key facts: wool has balanced thermal insulation properties – meaning it is warmer in winter and cool in the summer, making it the optimal fabric-option from head to toe. Also, wool is on top hypoallergenic, which means it is resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew that can trigger allergic reactions in many people. It absorbs harmful pollutants from the air and it doesn’t re-emit them. Allergies are a big topic nowadays and it is not easy, if you belong to this group that reacts sensitively, to find something that keeps you warm but does not irritate the skin.
On top of that, wool is naturally anti-static – meaning wool generates very little amounts of static electricity because of the qualities of its natural wool fibers. Static attracts lint, dirt, and dust so its anti-static properties keep it much cleaner for longer.
Not to mention that wool requires less water in production than other natural fibers. Further wool is biodegradable. Wool is a renewable product, each year sheep produce a fleece, making wool a natural and renewable resource. What makes wool biodegradable is a natural protein called keratin, the same protein found in human hair. This gives wool its resilience and elasticity as well as its ability to decompose in the soil, enriching the soil and nourishing new life. Whereas most synthetics are extremely slow to degrade and harmful to the soil.
All these facets of the fiber combined make merino wool the most sustainable option in today’s (fashion) climate.
All Images: Courtesy of The Woolmark Company