National Textiles Day, which recognises the contribution of textiles within design and daily use, falls today, May 3rd, giving us the perfect excuse to talk about one of our favourite things - Merino wool! Just what do we love about Merino wool and why is it the perfect clothing to wear outdoors?
Textile designer and FINDRA founder Alex Feechan says, ‘Merino wool is a real wonder fibre. It is a natural resource with a long lifespan and recycling options. Merino’s natural properties mean it has the ability to regulate body temperature, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter, it wicks moisture away, keeping you warm and dry, it is super soft, which makes it incredibly light and comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t smell, so no need to wash it as much as synthetic garments. Unless it’s really dirty and mud-caked, all Merino wool clothing needs is to air. It really is perfect for outdoor clothing.’
FINDRA Ambassador Marion Shoote, a mountaineer, runner, cyclist and snowboarder, is a fan. ‘The thing I love about merino is its sustainability,’ Marion says. ’Being 100% natural, I don't have to worry about it contributing to plastic pollution when I'm wearing it, washing it or even when I've worn it out. Merino doesn't need washing too frequently and it's happiest drying naturally, which saves energy. We're in the middle of a climate crisis and all our lifestyle choices are important, so here's an easy one: merino!
‘My favourite product is the Route Seamless Merino T-shirt,’ she adds. ‘I find it's a great baselayer for a wide range of weather conditions - which we often get all of in one day in Scotland!’
FINDRA Ambassador Graham Kelly, a mountain leader and trail running guide, explains, ‘A regular question is, how do I manage to travel on extended trips home and abroad with minimal luggage? The easy answer is Merino wool. Not only does it cope with a wide range of temperatures, despite best efforts running, hiking and biking, it doesn't stink.
‘The styling of FINDRA products also means they are equally at home on the trails or in your favourite brewery or restaurant. In recent times, the Harris Merino Hoodie has become my favourite top, tipping the Arran Merino-Lite Enduro off prime spot!’
In honour of our wonder fabric, we’ve put together a guide explaining why Merino is an ethical and sustainable choice, to answer a few frequently asked questions.
What is merino wool?
A super-fine, lightweight fibre, Merino is wool spun from the fleece of Merino sheep. Every tiny fibre is tightly wound like a spring, which gives it incredible resilience. Unlike synthetics, Merino is an active fibre, which means it reacts to changes in temperature and can absorb moisture vapour. Merino’s crimped fibres trap pockets of air, which helps insulate against the cold. The fibres even have natural protective layers, which help resist dirt.
Where does Merino wool come from?
New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and South Africa. FINDRA merino wool is ethically sourced in Australia. These hardy sheep live in environments with extreme weather conditions and their wool has adapted to meet all of those conditions, which gives it wonderful natural properties.
Is Merino wool sustainable?
Merino is a natural and renewable resource, and is fully recyclable and even compostable.
Is Merino wool ethical?
Merino wool is ethical as long as the farmers rearing the Merino sheep and the supply chain using the wool are all committed to it being that way. We are passionate about only working with ethical farmers and suppliers throughout our entire production process.
Is Merino wool warm?
As the Merino wool absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, a natural chemical reaction releases heat, warming the wearer. Merino wool also has the advantage of crimped fibres, which trap pockets of air to insulate from the cold.
How does Merino wool keep you cool?
The same process keeps you cool in hot weather too. Merino wool draws moisture away from the skin so it can evaporate, leaving you cool and dry. As Merino releases moisture into the atmosphere, it draws heat away from the wearer. The insulation pockets caused by the natural crimp in the fibres also protects from warm temperatures.
Can I wear Merino wool clothing in summer?
Absolutely! Merino wool clothing is great in the summer because it helps evaporate sweat and is odour resistant. Our Merino wool t-shirts are made from superfine, ethically sourced, cruelty-free Australian Merino wool, which wicks moisture away from the skin, regulating your core body temperature naturally. Lightweight, breathable and fast-drying, it keeps the wearer fresh and dry in summer months, and can be layered over a Merino wool base layer or Merino wool jumper for year-round use.
Is Merino wool odour resistant?
Yes! The structure of Merino’s natural fibres helps prevent the growth of bacteria, which is what causes bad odour. Now here is the science-y bit, if bacteria is present, the protein molecules that naturally occur in Merino fibres - called Keratin - break the bacteria down, so Merino wool clothing will not smell in the way other fabrics do.
Is Merino wool hard to care for?
No. Naturally odour resistant, Merino doesn’t need frequent washing - simply air it. Merino is machine washable at 30* cool wash on a delicate cycle. Use a mild detergent, reshape whilst damp and dry flat, and you’re good to go.
Why should I choose to invest in Merino wool?
Merino wool is 100% natural, it is renewable, sustainable and long-lasting, it is recyclable, biodegradable and environmentally friendly, so has lots of benefits for the planet. Merino is breathable, temperature-regulating, lightweight, odour resistant, water-repellent, fast wicking, soft and stretchy, allowing you freedom to move easily and comfortably, and is machine washable, so there are lots of benefits for you too.
Our aim is to continue to build a stylish and sustainable Merino wool clothing collection that is the opposite of fast fashion, that is not seasonal, but is designed to be worn year-round, layered up or down. So, from Merino wool socks to a Merino wool beanie, you can kit yourself out in this wonder fibre, safe in the knowledge that you are buying the best for you and the planet.