Wool growing has declined over many years. The competition from cheaper synthetic fibres, often fossil-fuel-based, has made it cheaper for farmers NOT to shear sheep – the cost of shearing a sheep is more than the farmer will get for the fleece.
However, like many natural fibres, there are numerous benefits that wool has over synthetic options, that make it a more comfortable, durable and fashionable choice.
The benefits of wool are:
Natural and Renewable
It is a natural fibre. It has evolved to produce a fabric that has become one of the most effective natural forms of all-weather protection known to man.
Every year sheep produce a new fleece, making wool a renewable fibre source. Woolgrowers actively work to improve efficiency and care for natural resources, endeavouring to make the wool industry sustainable for future generations.
It has a naturally high UV protection, which is much higher than most synthetics and cotton.
A fabric made entirely of wool doesn’t readily catch fire. Even if it does, it burns slowly and self-extinguishes when the source of the flame is removed.
When a natural Merino fibre is disposed of it takes only a few years to decompose and can be used to put fertility into soil for crop growing. Most synthetics on the other hand, are extremely slow to degrade.
It has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapor and sweat next to the skin making it extremely breathable.
A single fibre can be bent 20,000 times without breaking and still have the power to recover and return to its natural shape, this reduces the need to replace garments and top quality wool products stay looking good for longer.
Wool fibres have a natural protective layer which prevents stains from being absorbed, they also pick up less dust as they are static resistant.
Recent innovations mean wool garments are no longer hand-wash only, many garments can now be machine-washed and tumble dried.
Wool is active, reacting to changes in ones body temperature to keep you warm when you’re cold but releasing heat and moisture when you’re hot.
It can insulate the home providing and retaining warmth; reducing energy costs. Elastic
The natural elasticity of the fibres means it stretches with the wearer, but then returns to its natural shape, so there is less chance of garments sagging or losing their shape.
Article featured in Econation https://econation.co.nz/wool/