Let’s talk about wool, baby, and why we’re so hesitant to wear it once winter’s over.
For centuries, wool of various breeds has been used to clothe, protect and adorn both people and places (remember that shaggy, terracotta-hued area rug you used to stack wooden blocks on at your gran’s house? Probably wool).
Art Deco furniture by Pierre Paul Montagnac + wool rugs
Sartorially, post-war era fashion designers recognised wool’s versatility, blending it with other fibres to create garments of multi-purpose—clothing of both function and aesthetic pleasure—compared to those which served a pre-war lifestyle.
Naturally breathable, biodegradable, and resistant to fire and UV radiation (there’s a reason why sheep sunscreen isn’t a thing), wool has been used in service industry uniforms, farming attire, and camping and hiking garments for years, and still is today.
So, just how hard do these fibres work to maintain our comfort and protection, and why should we bother to know about it? The answers come down to comfort—our comfort as a wearer and the comfort of the earth.
Australian Wool Bureau 1953
Warm when it’s cool, cool when it’s hot
Wool fibers have the ability to absorb large amounts of moisture vapour, thereby directing moisture away from its immediate surroundings and back into the air to evaporate. Merino wool, in particular, is an active fibre, meaning it ‘breathes’ and has the ability to react to fluctuations in body temperature, helping you stay warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.
Think of Merino wool as the original sweat-wicker before synthetics were brought to the masses; not only does it absorb moisture vapour (sweat) but also the odour molecules from our perspiration that are then released upon washing. Et voila! Who’d have thought the perfect year-round, globe-trotting companion would be a sheep? (We did.)
Friendly to sensitive skin and a sensitive earth
On average, as reported by global wool authority The Woolmark Company, wool uses 18% less energy than polyester and almost 70% less water than cotton to produce 100 sweaters.
But how does that affect me if I can't wear wool sweaters because of my sensitive skin?
Merino wool is ‘superfine’, meaning its fibre is smoother than other breeds of wool, generating an almost unparalleled softness that won’t irritate human skin, even those with inflammatory sensitivities like eczema.
Why does CURIO use Merino wool?
Merino wool is unique in its softness, durability and ease of care, but also its historical significance. Wool flocks are bred by those who have a deep, often generationally-informed understanding of rearing animals grown and utilised for their fleece.
Australian Merino wool can be traced back to the land upon which it was bred, thanks to our advanced industry systems, thereby ensuring the origin and quality of the wool is verifiable and maintains its connection to place.
So, the next time the summer sun strikes you with a dose of wardrobe confusion grab your Merino tank and be on your way. Your blanket can hang out with your house plants while you’re gone.