Material Study: Merino Wool
The mention of Merino wool within our collection is often met with a quizzical look of apprehension. The common understanding is that wool is hot, itchy and uncomfortable. With Merino, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Merino sheep is a breed that originated from Spain, but now mainly resides in Australia and New Zealand, with much of the world’s production located here. What’s unique about this breed is its coat produces the finest fibres of any sheep on the planet.
Determined by microns, Merino wool is considered very fine, by nature of being under 24 microns in diameter. The wool which we use, which originates from the Mackenzie Basin in New Zealand is just 17.5 microns, classing it as super fine. The lower the diameter, the softer the fibre is. A soft hand feel is one thing, but performance plays an equally important part, and Merino doesn’t falter here either.
In Pursuit of Performance
As a sportswear brand, function is always at the core of what we do. If it doesn’t perform, it doesn’t get produced. Merino wool has all the natural properties needed for a high performing sportswear garment––breathable, moisture wicking and naturally impervious to odour. The balance between comfort and function has been a challenge for many years––cotton of course being renowned for its softness, but certainly not for its technical properties. Merino wool bridges that gap, offering unrivalled comfort and ultimate performance.
What’s further unique to Merino wool is the fibres’ ability to react to different temperatures. The Merino sheep has adapted over hundreds of years to volatile conditions. When it’s cold outside, the natural crimps in the fibre help trap air and keep your warm. Subsequently when it’s warm, the fibres transport moisture in the form of sweat quickly away from your body, keeping you cool and dry.
Delving a little deeper into our Merino wool specifically, we worked with renowned supplier Global Merino to develop a unique fabric that balanced softness, performance and durability. At fibre level, we utilised a construction dubbed Rapt™. This process involves encasing a nylon yarn within the merino fibres and results in a fabric with the properties of 100% merino wool, but the durability of a synthetic. Truly the best of both worlds.
One Eye on Sustainability
There’s no questioning sustainability is a key part of business these days. We’re fortunate in that we are at the early stage of business. The shift toward sustainability in the last few years has meant we have been able to implement mindful practices right from the start of our journey. This is a work in progress, and there are many components that we can’t control, but fabric and material is one we can. Merino wool is at the pinnacle of sustainable fabric. It’s the world’s most reused and recycled fabric on the planet. It’s both 100% renewable and biodegradable and therefore does not contribute to microplastic pollution. As a team, we’re committed to continue our journey with Merino wool, contributing to the shift toward a sustainable future.