Even though natural fibres are making a comeback in the fashion world, we’re still seeing more plant-based materials like viscose, cotton, and polyester dominates mainstream clothing. As consumers become increasingly aware of the effects these textiles have on the environment, as well as their own bodies, many brands are looking to natural fibres as a way to differentiate their products from their competitors. These days we’re seeing brands experiment with everything from silk to linen, but one natural fibre that is fast becoming a go-to material for the conscious consumer is Merino wool. So what exactly are the benefits of merino wool that have so many designers singing its praises? Let’s take a closer look at what makes this material so special.
Why Merino Wool Is Becoming a Fashionista’s Best Friend
There are countless reasons why merino wool has become so popular in the fashion industry. Firstly, merino wool is a sustainable material that can also be sourced from ethically farmed animals. Secondly, it’s incredibly versatile and can be woven in a number of different ways to create a variety of different fabrics, from ultra-thin knits to rugged outerwear. And finally, it’s incredibly soft, lightweight, and warm with the added bonus of being hypoallergenic. All of these qualities make merino wool an excellent choice for designers looking to create more sustainable and ethically-minded collections.
Responsible Practices are the Only Way Forward
One of the main reasons we see Merino wool making a comeback in the fashion industry is that conscientious brands are starting to recognize that they can no longer rely solely on synthetic materials. Although these fabrics are cheap and easy to produce, they’re also extremely harmful to the planet and the people who make them. Natural fibres like wool, however, are easily sourced in a way that’s safe for both the people producing them and the planet as a whole. Merino wool is a particularly ethical wool fibre since it’s produced from sheep bred specifically for their wool. While other wool fibres are produced from sheep bred for meat, merino wool doesn’t have any by-products. This means that every part of the sheep can be turned into something useful, from their meat to their hides and of course their wool. Merino sheep are hardy animals and can thrive in arid and temperate climates.
Merino Wool is Ultra-Soft and Ultra-Light
Merino wool is incredibly soft and lightweight, which makes it perfect for the production of a wide variety of fabrics, from knits to wovens. This makes it an excellent choice for designers looking to create lightweight garments perfect for layering. Merino wool is also breathable, which makes it perfect for the warmer seasons when you don’t want to be weighed down by extra layers. Merino wool is also remarkably soft, making it ideal for garments that will directly contact the skin, like socks and even underwear. Lambswool is the highest quality sheep wool available. It is so incredibly soft and silky and is used mainly for scarves, gloves etc.
It Doesn’t Cause Irritation and It’s Allergen-Free
As anyone who has ever owned merino wool socks knows, this material is virtually free of allergens. This is because merino wool is naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant, making it an ideal material for the production of garments that will come into direct contact with the skin.
It Keeps You Warm Without Weighing You Down
One of the most impressive qualities of merino wool is its heat density. This means that a garment made from merino wool will keep you warm without weighing you down, making it perfect for layering in colder weather.
It has Incredible Insulating Properties
Another great thing about merino wool is that it keeps you warm without using energy. This means that merino wool has a lower heat capacity than other fabrics, which means that it keeps you warm without using a lot of energy. This makes merino wool an excellent choice for people who want to be eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprint.
Natural Fibres Do Have Their Downside
Natural Fibres like Merino wool do require a bit more care, but the benefits outweigh the negatives. Most are sensitive to heat when washing, and can shrink. On many of the labels attached to woollen items you will see “Dry clean or wash by hand in cold water – do not tumble dry”. However, with natural fibres becoming more common, most modern washing machines now have a delicate cycle with a cold water wash which will not damage natural fibres. Some modern dryers also have a gentle “air dry” cycle.
With its endless benefits, it’s not hard to see why merino wool is such a popular choice among conscious consumers. However, merino wool isn’t the only natural fibre that is making waves in the fashion industry. Natural fibres like silk, hemp, and linen have also found their way into high-end designs. The natural fibre industry is booming as consumers look for better alternatives to synthetic textiles, and merino wool is leading the charge.