With our exquisite colours and unique process it it is little wonder that our primary resource doesn't get much attention. We thought it time to give a little attention to the wonders of wool.
This year's Premier Vision Paris saw a wide variety of woven and knitted textile design utilising wool. The fibre has made a comeback on the catwalk and it's natural, renewable and sustainable qualities have now caught on in the high street where retailers are more sensitive to their responsibility to engage in environmentally sensitive products. Wool ticks many ethical boxes including;
- Every year sheep produces new fleece, making wool a renewable fibre source
- Wool will decompose when secreted in soil making it fully biodegradable
- Wool has a naturally high level of UV protection
- Due to a high water and nitrogen content, wool is naturally flame retardant
Harris Tweed's trademark requirements mean we must use pure virgin wool and in addition to the hand-woven aspects of the process we are at a distinct advantage. Gladly the fashion industry is beginning to catch up. Assistant Dean of the School of Art and Design of FIT, Sass Brown, states:"Fashion is at a tipping point. After the growth do the slow food movement, sustainable fashion is emerging, slowly but surely innovative designers are working it". This can only be a positive for the Harris Tweed Industry as clients will get the added ecological credentials of using our 100% wool based tweed.
Technical innovation to make fibres more breathable, resilient and robust continue but there is a stronger drive to use more wool over synthetics in these processes. A wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times without breaking and along with a wonderful hue it remains colourfast when dyed. Perhaps more most importantly wool (and thus tweed) repels moisture vapour making your Harris Tweed jacket or bag virtually water proof; it dries out rather fast too. The wool is carded, the yarn is woven, the tweed is worn.