Our relationship to wool is one that is as almost old as civilisation, dating back to 6000BC.
It has, over time, evolved to become one of the most prized fabrics and is used in everything from clothing to homewares thanks to its resilience and versatility.
Out of the various breeds and blends, Merino has become the wool of choice.
Merino sheep were first bred in Spain where they became prized for their fine wool. It was in 1797, towards the beginning of European settlement, that the breed was introduced into Australia.
It was in Australia that the Merino sheep, through selective breeding, developed even finer fibre as early farmers succeeded in producing the first authentic Australian Merino wool.
The secret to Merino wool’s success lies in its exceptionally fine fibres, which make it the softest wool available
Being so extremely fine, they are able to bend far more than other coarser wool fibres. It also has higher elasticity that helps prevent garments made with Merino wool from losing their shape.
Because Merino wool is made out of keratin, much like human hair, it is completely biodegradable. When it is eventually disposed of, it will breakdown, decomposing to release vital nutrients back into the soil, acting like a fertiliser.
The transformation from fleece to fabric is an artisanal process that capitalises on the already potent qualities of Merino wool.
Spinners, weavers and knitters transform the fleece into yarn and innovative fabrics using a combination of ancient and modern techniques.
After collection from farms, the fleece is cleaned and opened up into a continuous thread using a “carding” process, which is then further refined. This is then spun into a continuous, strong yarn, which is the raw material used by the fashion industry in either a “worsted spinning” technique for fine garments or “woollen spinning” for bulkier yarns used in knits and some jacketing.
Merino wool’s diverse benefits make it one of the world’s most premium fibres for apparel.
It is also considered the safest fabric for bedding, with research suggesting that it can help with pre-existing skin conditions while regulating body temperature promoting a better night’s sleep.
From fashion to homewares, Merino wool is used in almost every part of our lives.