Wool is a common natural fibre that is obtained from sheep and other animals – cashmere and mohair come from goats, alpaca is from animals in the camel family, and angora comes from rabbits. It is renewable, recyclable, and – if not treated with chemicals – biodegradable. Wool is best known for its warming properties when it’s cold, but it is also temperature-regulating to stay cool when it’s warm. This is due to the structure of wool fibres which enables them to trap air and absorb moisture without becoming damp.
Each type of wool has unique properties, and we’ve worked with our long-term suppliers to responsibly source the best of each kind for our garments.
This type of wool comes from alpacas in the camel family, and the alpaca we use is sourced from Peru. The silky fibres are long (10-20 cm) and fine, giving it a softer and more durable quality than sheep’s wool. The processing requires less water and fewer chemicals than other wools. Alpaca fleece is a renewable resource, and the animals have padded hooves that leave a lighter footprint – making them easier on the earth.
The fabric is hypoallergenic, it resists shrinking, and it has a soft and lightweight feeling. It’s perfect to use for cosy knitwear.
Our cashmere is sourced primarily from herders in Inner Mongolia as opposed to cashmere farmers. These types of goats can be harder on the land than other animals, because they pull up plants from the roots. Because of this, we’re mindful of where we source it. The smaller scale family-run operations we work with are able to take care of the land and move the animals to prevent overgrazing. The herders are offered education in land management and animal welfare.
The cashmere that comes from these goats is six times finer than human hair, giving it the signature soft and luxurious feel. Similar to other types of wool, it is also temperature-regulating which means it stays warm when it’s cool, and cool when it’s warm. These properties make it ideal for knitwear, and we also use it in outerwear fabric.
This type of wool comes from merino sheep. Their skin can tend to be more wrinkled than other types of sheep, which means that some farmers practice mulesing. For our heavy knits in the permanent Core collection, we source our merino wool from South Africa where we can ensure it is always mulesing-free. Details about other products that include merino wool can be found on each product page.
The fibre is finer and softer than regular wool, yet it has the same temperature regulating qualities. It is high in quality and can be spun into fine wire threads, creating a breathable material. This makes it ideal for lighter knitwear pieces, and for suiting fabric.
Mohair comes from the angora goat which produces long fibres with a high lustre and shine. It has a soft and lightweight feel, and is considered a luxury fibre like cashmere and silk. It also provides a unique fluffy textured appearance that sets it apart from other types of wool. We source our mohair from farms in South Africa, and the material can be found in our sweaters and some outerwear fabric.
The use of mohair in the fashion industry can be problematic due to a lack of standards, and we have been proactive in our approach to ensure that the mohair we use is coming from sustainable sources. In 2019, we formed a group with John Lewis and Acne to visit the farms and discuss the possibility of developing the first Responsible Mohair Standard. Supply chains are complex, but we want to ensure we are supporting farmers who are managing their animals and land in a good way. We are working with global certification bodies to draft a standard that will ensure the mohair we buy is both traceable and sustainable—it is due to be ready for implementation later in 2020.
Mulesing is a procedure used on sheep that is considered by animal rights groups as cruel. When we declare our wool to be mulesing-free, we can confirm that the sheep have not endured this procedure. Our suppliers receive a certification letter that confirms the origin of their mulesing-free wool. This type of wool is used in our suiting fabric, outerwear fabric, and in all of our wool sweater styles.
We source recycled wool from both pre-consumer and post-consumer sources. For pre-consumer, mulesing-free wool fibres that are waste from the carding process are spun into new yarns in Italy for us to use. The post-consumer fibres come from wool garments that are recycled into new fabric in a traditional method from Prato in Italy. It’s a very hands-on process that requires a unique type of expertise to blend the colours of the wool.
Recycled wool uses less water and energy than the production of virgin wool. It can be found in our suitingfabric, outerwear, and sweaters.
In 2019, we worked with a local farm and a fellow Swedish brand to develop a new supply chain to source Swedish wool. Sweden’s sheep provide over 1000 tonnes of wool each year, most of which goes to waste. We visited the farm Norrby Gård to learn about how we can change this. As a result, we set up a supply chain to develop our first Swedish wool sweater with a naturally raw, organic material that ensures good animal welfare and a reduced carbon footprint. We’ve continued to develop this supply chain and will use Swedish wool in future collections as well, sharing this method with other brands in a sustainable, scalable way.
We source yak wool from Tibet, as yaks are native to the Himalayas. The yarn they produce is valued for its warmth, breathability, and durability – it is 30% warmer than sheep’s wool and softer than cashmere. The organic fibres resist pilling, they’re thermal regulating, they resist odour and water, they’re hypoallergenic, and moth-proof. These qualities make it an ideal material for long-lasting, luxurious knitwear that can be worn in cooler months.