The strong, Sustainable Textile SOlution
New Zealand knows wool well and has a long history of sheep farming dating back to the first pair released in 1773. It wasn’t until 1850 that sheep farming took off, and ever since then it’s been a leading export for both its wool and meat (although slowly declining in the last forty years). Particularly, the English breed of Romney sheep are known for their high-quality wool and meat and can withstand the varying seasons we find here.
NZ wool has the best white color quality and cleanest fibres, allowing the wool to hold dyes better. Most people have touched or purchased something consisting of Merino wool, which has a world-leading reputation for its resilience and soft texture.
But wool is so much more than that, and we need to let the world know!
wool is non-allergenic
Wool fibres are covered in scales that trap dust, mold spores, and other harmful allergens, removing them from the air and preventing them from being inhaled. Wool actually cleans the air around you! Bacteria, fungus, and dust mites won’t find a hospitable environment to grow either because of its excellent moisture management (we'll cover that too).
Oh yeah, and wool fibres are heavy so you won’t see as much shedding of particles by the wool, making it perfect for sleeping on (think wool pillows and mattresses).
wool is Sustainable and eco-friendly
Wool is completely renewable, producing fresh bouncy raw material year to year. We could write an entire article about how wool is a better choice for the environment compared to synthetic fibres like polyester. Even of the sustainable options out there like cotton and bamboo, wool is the superior textile. Wool is biodegradable as well so you won’t be clogging oceans and waterways during production, use, or after the life of the finished item.
wool provides moisture management
Wool is composed of natural protein fibres and its microscopic pores attract and absorb water vapour and sweat. It can absorb almost twice its weight in moisture (WOW!) without starting to feel damp – versus cotton with only 1/5 of its weight. At the same time, wool naturally repels water in situations like an unexpected downpour while on a hike. You’ll stay drier and your products will be less smelly than the synthetic options.
wool has temperature regulation
Wool is an exceptional insulator that keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter. Temperature changes within wool are gradual, creating a stable microclimate perfect for items like your favourite snow thermals and wool pillows.
wool is fire-resistant
The high keratin and moisture content contributes to wool being naturally fire-resistant. No harsh chemicals needed here! Wool awards safety and peace of mind, especially for homeware, insulation and bedding items. There’s even a growing trend to stuff leftover raw wool in #vanlife builds and homes. This used to be common and we hope it's a fad that will take over the fiberglass insulation industry.
wool is durable yet supportive
Wool is finer than a human hair, yet so strong it can be bent back on itself more than 20,000 times before breaking, unlike cotton at 3,000 times and silk 2,000 times. At the same time, wool springs back when compressed such as in pillows and mattresses, providing ultimate comfort and support. Your stiff neck and back will thank you.
wool is cost-effective
Although it can be more of an investment to purchase say a new wool sweater than a polyester sweater, in the long run you will come out ahead. Wool is a long-lasting fibre and if cared for properly, can last you years.
Caring for wool comes down to washing it properly in cool temperatures and hanging to dry. That’s also a savings since you don’t need to waste electricity on hot washes and it needs cleaning less frequently.
wool has creative uses
Because of the amazing properties listed about, wool is being transformed into exciting new products across all markets. Take, for example, the kiwi-founded company Allbirds and their merino wool shoes. With a strong focus on sustainability, this small New Zealand business is now world-wide and known for their extremely comfortable, high-quality shoes.
Another terrific example takes us to outer space, where Nasa and Lanaco are currently in the test-phase with wool filters for their emergency life-support system on board Orion. Should a fire ever emerge, the Helix™ Filter would be able to filter unwanted contaminants like molten plastic.
ConclusionWe’ve just listed 8 reasons why wool is the textile to support, but there’s so many more. Whether you are in the market for a warm pair of socks (check out Cosy Toes!) or those old pillows need replacing, wool can be the answer! What feels even better is that your choice is what’s best for not only you, but the rest of New Zealand too.
If you're ready to get some wool in your life, check out our 100% NZ Wool Pearl Pillows which are handmade in Avondale.
Thank you for reading and for supporting NZ manufacturing.