German Innovation

The Berlin Wool Lab Project has helped connect some of the most exciting up-and-coming design talent with the world’s top Merino wool spinners and weavers

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Since the launch in 2011 of The Wool Lab – The Woolmark Company’s biannual sourcing guide to the world’s best commercially available wool fabrics and yarns – hundreds of textile and fashion professionals across the globe have been informed about the premium quality of Australian Merino wool. A recent complementary initiative from The Woolmark Company – The Berlin Wool Lab Project – has seen 12 of Germany’s top emerging design talents be inspired by The Wool Lab and choose innovative Merino wool fabrics for outfits in their spring/summer 2016 collections.

The designers were selected to participate in the project in February last year, under the guidance of leading fashion journalist Melissa Drier. The Woolmark Company offered its support in connecting the designers with the spinners and weavers to obtain their preferred fabrics from the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of The Wool Lab – an edition that demonstrates the vast potential and trans-seasonal properties of Merino wool. The chosen designers developed their Merino wool fabrics into outfits which were showcased in the windows and in-store at Berlin’s KaDeWe – the largest department store in Continental Europe – for three weeks in February 2016. The outfits are available for purchase through the designers’ own websites and retail channels.

“Independent designers often have difficulties sourcing high quality textiles,” Drier said. “The Wool Lab for spring/summer 2016 not only excited me with its innovative wool developments, but it has been a great vehicle to connect designers to top mills and help get more wool on the Berlin runway. The Wool Lab makes it clear that modern Australian Merino wool is just that: modern! Innovative weavers and spinners all over the world have been stretching the technical limits of Merino wool via new finishes, blends, and exciting, out-of-the-box thinking.”


“The Wool Lab project made me fall in love with wool all over again. It is inspiring to see the latest ideas that manufacturers have and put them to work. Wool has always been an essential part of our collections but to pair it with modern technology to this extent is new for us. The Wool Lab is a fantastic opportunity to work one on one with wool companies, get to know them and understand how they operate today. It is wonderful to have the possibility to connect and learn from each other.”
Mira von der Osten, CRUBA

“I have always been obsessed with wool, but The Wool Lab broadened my view on wool with regard to soft falling, very elegant, modern fabrics. I feel that both styles I designed for the project are very much in line with my general design aesthetics: a fusion of traditional materials and crafting techniques with a very modern, contemporary look.”

“It was a pleasure seeing in The Wool Lab very diverse materials created through outstanding techniques, making the wool appear very non-traditional and contemporary. Developing looks from a structured, yet lightweight and rich wool allowed me to practice some of the main aspects of my design, the merging of traditional and sports elements against a backdrop of classic menswear.”
Sissi Goetze, GOETZE

“The Wool Lab is a perfect way to find new manufacturers which offer an amazing knowledge and skill in making fabrics. It is a robust compendium that showcases the possibilities behind the material. We found many of our suppliers through The Wool Lab.”
Antonia Goy and Bjoern Kubeja, ANTONIA GOY

“I created a graphic garment for The Wool Lab project, combining different wool structures in one garment. Working with high quality fabric is always a big inspiration to my collections and an important part of the working creative process.”

“The Wool Lab offered an insight into wool for summer! Regardless of the season, tailored pieces are always at the forefront of all collections at BOBBY KOLADE. The pieces on display in The Wool Lab are a summery and playful take on suiting.”

“The Wool Lab showed me, and confirmed, how great it is to work with wool and how multifaceted the fibre can be. Wool has always been classic yet modern and timeless, always in step with the time. But now to me it’s even more promising.”

“What is important to my company is the origin of the fabric and fibres we use. We specifically focus on Merino wool, which has helped IVANMAN retain its unique high-end look.”
Ivan Mandzukic, IVANMAN

“The Wool Lab project made me think differently about the possibilities of wool. The opportunity to be connected with new wool manufacturers brought us up to a new level, as well as giving us the potential to create our own textile designs in wool.”

“We love to play with elegant and fresh combinations. The green of this wool evoked to us spring, vacations, pleasure, and sunny cityscape. We created from that inspiration an elegant but nonchalant look for the city.”
Johanna Perret and Tutia Schaad, PERRET SCHAAD

“As is typical with my work, I approached the material through draping it on a dress form. The material’s suppleness made an elegant and, at the same time, casual look possible. Wool is a natural material with cooling and warming qualities. It has a beautiful fall and is crease resistant.”

“I’ve always loved wool and used it in my collections. In particular, wool crepe is one of my favorite materials because of its structure. The resulting pieces suit me and my work well. I’m pleased that through The Wool Lab, wool is again very much in the forefront, because for me, it’s an indispensable fabric.”

Top image: illustration by Ivan Mandzukic

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