• Szilvia Burrows

Why choose wool

A little insight into the characteristics of this wonderful fibre.

Slowly but surely more and more influential brands and companies discover the benefits of one of the oldest and most natural fibres’ benefits: Wool.

I investigated this brilliant material when I was at university. I was intrigued by sportswear fabrics and advanced textiles for health and wellbeing in general and my research quickly pointed to wool. At the time I was working on and developing my own sportswear fabrics, all handmade on a vintage 10gg hand operated, industrial knitting machine. During this 3 years in university I’ve discovered my love for knitwear and knitted fabrics so when the time came to create my graduate collection I felt strongly about making them by hand as opposed to outsourcing as well as bringing the sustainability aspect to it. Furthermore, during the research for my final collection as well as my dissertation, I found that wool is an underappreciated fibre.

All garments in my final collection feature a sportswear element; breathability, durability, and thermal insulation and most of all include Extrafine Merino Wool. You can take a look at my graduate collection, Performance Luxe here.

When I started setting my business up and going through several detailed research regarding the market or building my brand ethos, etc; I instantly knew that if I’m going to handcraft and hand finish all of my products and therefore spend a great time with the making process, the material had to be the best and highest quality too. I already knew I loved working with wool and now the next steps were clear without a question.

There are so many plastic fibres available to us at today’s market, pure ‘plastic’ fibres and blends as well. Nowadays when you go to a high street shop and look at the tags of the garments, I guarantee you the majority of the fibre content of it is polyester, acrylic and other man-made fibres. Of course, they have their own aesthetics, several printing methods etc are working extremely well with polyester and elastane, etc creating beautiful aesthetics, and most importantly the main reason being they are so widely available to us and constantly present in the current market is: price. We all know there is a huge difference in the price when it comes to a polyester fibre and for example silk or cashmere. I guess big brands cannot compromise on this.

Black nose sheep, picture credit: Als Couzens

Wool’s glorious natural benefits:

Wool is of course 100% naturally grown year-round consuming a simple blend of water, air, sunshine, and grass.

wool facts natural fibre
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Wool is a protein based fibre made of keratin, just like human hair, formed in the skin of sheep, therefore 100% natural. Using wool is dating back to the Stone Age and it has been appreciated as one of the most effective varieties of all-weather protection known to man. No other fibre come close to match wool’s unique properties to this date.

Picture credit: Sue Curliss, Sugar Gum Farm

Apart from being natural, wool has many other benefits too.

Wool is 100% biodegradable. When a wool fibre is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Plastic fibres can take up to 1000 years to decompose. This of course depends on the type of plastic it is, nevertheless, it is dreadful to the environment.

Wool facts sheet
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Wool is the most