In the middle of the hallowed turf at the illustrious Sydney Cricket Ground stands the “alpha male of American street style” Nick Wooster alongside Australian cricket superstar Shane Watson and M.J. Bale founder and CEO Matt Jensen. What binds them all together is not actually a love for the Gentleman’s Game, but an appreciation for Australian Merino wool and the process of how it gets from sheep to shop.
Recently entering into a strategic partnership with The Woolmark Company, Wooster was in town to learn about the origins of Merino wool – a fibre he calls the cornerstone to a man’s wardrobe.
“Wool is never going away for a gentleman to get dressed,” explains Wooster. “When you’re wearing fine tailored clothing - that fibre - the consistent thing is that it comes from the same place. How it gets raised, how it is produced is a really amazing story.
“I can’t think of a material on the planet that has that much thought put behind it.”
As official clothiers to the Australian cricket team, M.J. Bale knows what it takes to dress champions. In doing so, it uses a champion fibre to carefully weave garments of integrity. The son of a woolgrower and grazier, Jensen knows first-hand the significant impact Australia’s wool industry has with the global fashion industry and ensures that only the finest fibres are used in M.J. Bale apparel.
Australian Merino wool plays a major role in the making up of an M.J. Bale suit: grown on some of the best superfine woolgrowing properties Australia has to offer, woven into luxurious cloth by Biella’s most revered mills and some suits are hand-finished by craftsman in Japan. And their Cool Wool collection of apparel is made from lightweight Merino wool perfectly suited to Australia’s warm climate.
According to Wooster, M.J. Bale is showing the younger generation of men that wearing a suit is not an archaic thing of the past – but can be really cool and modern.
“M.J. Bale is a bloke brand,” says Wooster after discovering more about the apparel they create. “I think it’s a brand that a guy can relate to. They do a really good job of capturing colour and use the kind of fabrics that a guy is going to need for a work/travel wardrobe. They’ve thought about the sportswear, they’ve really thought through the whole package because if you’re a guy, in a hurry, needing solutions for getting dressed, and getting dressed up, you can go to one place and get it done.”
The Australian cricket team gets kitted out in garments woven with the heritage of the game
Nick Wooster visits the source of Merino wool