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Fashion turns to wool

It has been interesting to read and hear the coverage given to wool recently, and consumer attitudes to it.  It is no secret (certainly not in the media!) that British wool has suffered hugely since the first lockdown and prices have dropped alarmingly. 

However, there is an upside to every downside.  Wool has long been recognised as the best fibre for carpet but the fashion industry traditionally took an alternative view, driven in no small part we would speculate due to the demand for ‘fast-fashion – and wool lasts! Also, apart from menswear and tweed, the fashion industry tended to prefer Southern Hemisphere yarns.

Now, however, it appears the tide is turning.  Leading high street names are using wool in many of their collections and several independent brands, (&Daughter, Palava), focussing solely on wool-based products, have launched – with great success.  Indeed, the pandemic has boosted their sales. 

Part of the reason they say is that ‘comfort’ is all important now to us, along with an appreciation of nature – and wool is probably the most environmentally friendly fibre in the world.  Ecological, sustainable and biodegradable, wool doesn’t fester for years in landfill. 

One of the great campaigners for wool in recent years has been the Prince of Wales.  Ten years ago, he set up the Campaign for Wool which promotes the use of wool in everything, be it carpets, clothing or cushion covers.

As one journalist wrote ‘if you’ve ever enjoyed a view of a hillside dotted with sheep, then it is probably in your own interest to help protect the wool industry too’.