I should dispense with formality and call this Textile Tuesday. It seems to have worked out that way. Wish I’d thought to post a picture of cotton for today’s first entry. This lamb is cute, no? Photo courtesy: Basslevite
Nearly three decades after converting a generation of outdoor enthusiasts to synthetic fabrics, a growing number of sporting-goods makers are bringing wool back.
This time around, the companies are touting items made from merino wool, which is finer and more lightweight than standard wool and can approach cotton in feel. Companies like Icebreaker Ltd., a New Zealand-based outdoor apparel manufacturer, and SmartWool, a company specializing in wool ski socks and “base layer” (like long underwear), claim increasing sales. Citing consumer demand, sportswear maker Patagonia has also been gradually changing its product mix to include more wool in its base layers; now 57% of its “base layer” product is made from merino wool, with the balance made from polyester and recycled materials.
Manufacturers and retailers cite consumers who say they prefer the styling choices of wool, pairing these items as separates. Other factors mentioned are lower odor than synthetics and the greater sustainability of natural wool fiber (whether the carbon footprint of wool vs synthetics is superior is still being roundly debated). While the debate over performance has finally come full circle, the one downside of wool remains cost; it’s 30% to 50% more expensive than synthetics. Then again, increasing use of wool could be seen as another move towards what some describe as “slow fashion”. Not that we’ve definitively decided what that really means but I do think we agree it refers to products with a longer life span once value is computed.
I can’t speak for you but I’ve always preferred the real deal. Wool. Even if it’s scratchy and have to wear a shirt under it. Luckily, I’m not allergic to it.