Global brands and consumers are interested in understanding the story of the wool products they are buying, where they come from and who produced them.
“Wool has a unique story to tell in this space, one that not a lot of other fibres can match,” Emily King, Woolgrower Extension and Adoption, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) said,
“We also have the benefit of having a really cute animal and the person behind it to make our point.”
Wool growers have heard the message before but with the eastern market Indicator currently at 1614c/kg, it is well they continue to be reminded because of the past history of volatility in the market.
Wool has a unique story to tell in this space, one that not a lot of other fibres can match
“We have increased supply but demand is outstripping production,” Ms King said.
Speaking during the It’s Ewe Time! forum held in Wagga Wagga, Ms King, noted the rising interest in wool is due to the growing push to “slow down fast fashion”.
“There is a focus on buying quality products and wearing them for longer,” she said.
“This movement has been highlighted by some high profile projects like Campaign for Wool with Prince Charles as patron, and programs like the recently screened `War on Waste’.”
Another who is raising awareness about disposable fashion is Alex James, one-time bass player for the British band Blur, now making cheese in the Cotswolds.
He is passionate about reducing the turnover of cheap clothing and has highlighted the extreme waste in the clothing industry through a recently made video.
Ms King pointed out wool at any one time only makes up one to two per cent of the global fibre market but in terms of wool being recycled, it pushes far above its position.
“Proportionately, wool is the most recycled fibre and slow fashion is aimed at reducing wastage and the ultimate impact of the planet’s resources is lessened,” she said.
“Wool is well positioned to be the fibre of choice for those who are concerned about the environment.”
Health and well-being is an increasing macro-trend globally, and Ms King noted there is a lot of research and development within AWI and industry partners working on skin health and particularly targeting the mother and young babies market.
“Wool is soft enough for a baby to wear against its skin and research is showing superfine Merino wool (within definite specs) is the preferred fibre to treat eczema,” she said.
“It is the premium fibre which will moisture manage the skin for an eczema sufferer and there have a number of conclusive trials throughout Australia which is really exciting.”
Ms King pointed out the trials will further be conducted in the US and will be peer reviewed to verify the results are not purely based on Australian environmental conditions.