AWI’s (Australian Wool Innovation) Live & Breathe Campaign set out to educate a new generation of consumers about the technical performance benefits of Australian Merino wool. What better way to showcase wool’s performance benefits than have commercially available wool products tested by a group of top athletes – which is exactly what The Woolmark Company did as part of its Live & Breathe marketing campaign .
With its unrivaled breathability, moisture management properties and odour control, there’s no denying that wool is the ultimate performance fibre. To prove it, AWI’s marketing arm, The Woolmark Company, put wool to the ultimate test – as part of the company’s Live & Breathe consumer marketing campaign – with three Australian athletes wearing head-to-toe wool for their workouts.
THE ATHLETES’ VERDICT “I think that people hold the misconception that wool can be cumbersome and itchy, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” said atlete Rohan Browning of his experience. “High performance in elite sport is all about being in a comfortable mental and physical space. When you’re behind the start line and all the work has been done, the only thing you can change is what you wear.” Jeff agrees, noting in particular wool’s ability to regulate body temperature and minimise moisture. “I typically find it difficult to find a product that can keep me warm early in a run when I’m still cold, and that can cope once I’ve warmed up so that I don’t overheat or sweat. Wool minimises the need for multiple layers that need to be shed as a run goes on, making it really versatile.” High jumper Amy Pojkic commented: “Breathable, lightweight, durable and 100% Australian Merino wool – perfect for summer workouts too.”
The Woolmark Company partnered with Amazon to create a hub of shoppable wool products. See www.amazon.com/adlp/woolmark
MORE INFORMATION www.woolmark.com/liveandbreathe
Beyond the Bale, Live & Breath Campaign, Issue 77 Dec. 2018, pg 6-8.
New inspirations from our travels in the Pilbarra Region of Western Australia. From left to right: Paj Silk Fabric (click here to view), Superfine Merino wool tops (click here to view), Silk Mesh fabric (click here to view).
This a fabulous concept – replacing micro plastics with silk! By controlling the process of making the liquid silk, silk molecules can be created in different sizes to perform different functions.
“The acids and the enzymes in our digestive system can easily degrade silk, whereas the enzymes are not tailored to breaking down non-protein entities such as a synthetic plastic,” Altman says. Similarly, bacteria can easily degrade silk if it’s composted, and if a product made with liquid silk entered the ocean, fish and plankton could safely digest it.
2018 was an unpredictable year for the Chinese Silk Market. On a good note the cocoon production rebounded, which has slightly eased the incredibly high export prices for silk. However, the impending Trade War between the USA and China is set to have detrimental effects on the price of Silk fabric and Wool (raw and tops) being imported into the USA. Since August 2018 a new tariffs have been proposed to bump the tariff from 10% to 25%. More talks are scheduled this week (1 Feb 2019), the final outcome is still in flux.
The long and short of the USA/China trade war is that craft supplies like Silk fabrics and Wool are likely to soon be costing more if you live in America. The implications for the rest of the world are still unknown. Since 2015 Australia and China have had a free trade agreement in place, consequently the prices for our Treetops silk and wool products will not be effected by any new tariffs!
For the year of 2018, Australian Wool industries have seen record breaking prices! Australian wool prices are predicted to remain high in the coming year due to improved demand and limited supply. The superfine market <18.5 micron has seen considerable growth due to demand of the ‘next to skin’ market (ie think sportswear like IceBreaker). Fine wool prices (19 micron- 21 microns), where the bulk of the Australian clip is captured, has also performed well. This past season, 46% of the Australia’s wool clip was between 18.5 and 21.5 micron.
Merino wool is increasingly being used as the key ingredient in footwear, with the high performance fibre giving consumers the natural edge over its synthetic rivals.
AWI’s (Australian Wool Innovation) technical team has been working to create shoes that not only allow the foot to breathe, wick away moisture and are resistant to odour, but importantly are comfortable to wear. For example, by combining yarns together and using three dimensional knitting, the entire upper of the shoe can be seamless, free of cutting and sewing.
adidas, Baabuk, Giesswein, Le Mounton and Z Zegna are just some of the popular brands on the market today. The most recent brand to hit the ground running is Neeman’s – the first brand to come out of India to include Merino wool in footwear.
Designed in London, the shoes are made from some of the finest Merino wool from Australia, with the insoles made from plantbased castor bean oil and recycled rubber, which offers comfort through all seasons in India. The sock-free, odour resistant, flexible and lightweight shoes inherit all the ecocredentials of Merino wool.
“Neeman’s has created a path-breaking collection of shoes by using Merino wool from Australia, which is superfine and lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable, naturally odour resistant and keeps skin cool and dry even in extreme temperatures.”
Beyond the Bale, Running with Wool , Issue 77 Dec. 2018, pg 33.
Acknowledging the shrinking size of Australia’s sheep flock throughout the past 20 years, Anthony Close from Victoria said his focus of his Nuffield studies will be researching the range of factors that have caused this reduction, comparing the industry with those overseas to gain a better understanding of what makes progressive industries grow and prosper.
“In 1992 the national sheep flock was 150 million head, and produced 4.75 million bales of wool. In 2018, the flock is 70 million head, and will produce two million bales,” he said.
“Wool prices are at historically record levels at the moment and there is a lot of confidence in the industry, despite the current lack of rainfall in many areas, so I hope my research will identify ways that the Merino can once again become a prominent feature of the Australian farming landscape.”
MORE INFORMATION: Information on previous AWI Nuffield woolgrower scholars and their reports are available at www.wool.com/nuffield.
Beyond the Bale, Nuffield Studies Aim to Boost Merino Flocks , Issue 77 Dec. 2018, pg 73.
Australian woolgrowers have been awarded with the inaugural Eco Stewardship Award at this year’s Green Carpet Fashion Awards held as the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week. The award recognises the commitment to the environment demonstrated by the tens of thousands of woolgrowers across the country.
Every day, woolgrowers across the country are caring for their animals and the land in a passionate and sustainable way, ensuring that when you are wearing wool, you are also caring for the environment. Woolgrowers have always known this is the case – and it is fantastic that this has been recognised by the fashion industry.”
MORE INFORMATION www.eco-age.com/ green-carpet-fashion-awards.
Beyond the Bale, Australian Wool Growing Receives Eco Award, Issue 77 Dec. 2018, pg 14.