Wild And Wooly: Why We Choose Wool For Winter

By Diane Small

We were pretty gutted here to learn that clothing made from recycled plastic is actually really bad for the environment, as microparticles of plastics shed every time you do a wash – and these can’t be filtered out by water processing, meaning the more people who buy clothing made from these so-called ‘eco friendly’ materials, the more plastic we are drinking.

It’s a real pity, because many green-minded companies, including Pharrell Williams’ Bionic Yarn and Patagonia, have been using recycled bottles in their textiles for years, thinking this was a good thing. The truth is that as the world looks around for alternatives to man-made fibres that are full of chemicals, the most eco-friendly materials are indeed the most traditional – hemp, silk, and wool, for example.

Used for centuries, sheep and goat hair makes not only wonderful clothing, but great bedding and insulation, too.  While some still argue that it’s not a super-eco friendly material because sheep take up a lot of farmland, the truth is that it’s a fully renewable resource, is biodegradable, and when done correctly, shearing sheep doesn’t bother the animals at all – no wonder mega-vegan Stella McCartney has no qualms about using it in her collections!  It’s also a highly luxurious material, with merino wool being the best available, demanded by high end fashionistas around the world.

The best thing about wool is that it is entirely natural, as long as no chemicals are added when colouring or preserving the wool. It’s a truly  amazing textile, full of important properties that make it hugely attractive. For example,  it can absorb moisture amazingly well by drawing moisture into the core of its fibres. Additionally,  wool breathes really well, which allowing even heavy woollen clothes to retain a light and airy feeling.

Perhaps surprisingly, wool has natural fire retardant properties, which is exactly why it’s the perfect home insulation material and mattress stuffing. And check this out: the natural lanolin in wool helps to repel dust mites and bedbugs – a great quality in a world where eczema and asthma are on the rise.

Some companies, such as WoJo, a New Zealand based company, are innovating wool in eco friendly ways by adding sustainable fibres to the material, such as jute recycled from Starbucks’ coffee sacks. In turn, Starbucks plan to use this eco-friendly material to upholster seats in their coffee houses around the world.

In terms of fashion, wool is no longer a frumpy material that grannies use to make hideous Christmas sweaters – a plethora of cutting edge designers are employing it in their collections, including Ev Bessar, Myrrhia Knitwear and  Nanna van Blaaderen  are using it to stunning effect.

We hope this fun fashion shoot not only highlights the natural environment that wool comes from, but also shows you how easy it is to knit something fun, warm and natural for yourself, using one of nature’s most renewable, natural resources.

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Photographer:  Leanne Allen

Model: Colleen Bachmann  of  Dejavu Model Management

Hair: Peter Downie

Make Up: Missy MacKintosh

Stylist: Art of Yarn  

Location:  Vale Farms  

Diane Small
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