Everything You Need to Know About Merino Wool Activewear and Why It's Worth Investing In
When it comes to activewear, brands are forever experimenting with different kinds of fabrics and technologies to give every day athletes and gym goers the best performance wear possible. And for those familiar with fabrics, it'll come as no surprise that merino wool is slowly becoming more and more popular with activewear designers.
You only have to look at the internet-buzz around labels like sustainable footwear brand, All Birds and Byron-based studio-to-street wear brand, Nagnata to see that merino wool products are fast-becoming activewear lovers fabric of choice, but why? You'd be forgiven for thinking that working out in woollen activewear would make you sweat even more as Nagnata Founder and Designer Laura-May Gibbs explains, "Many people don't realise this, but merino wool is one of the world's most technically advanced fibres with natural moisture and temperature regulation properties. The fibre works in total harmony with the wearer's body due to it's natural elasticity, odour resistance and breathability. What this means is when you are working out the merino fibres help keep your body cool, and when your body is cold they act as a thermal and help keep you warm." Meaning it's suitable to workout in all year round.
Fabric blends made up of merino wool are also a more sustainable choice for both brands and consumers, which is becoming more of requirement for the modern day, eco-conscious consumer. As Laura points out, "Australian merino wool is a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre. Whilst our garments are not yet 100% biodegradable because we do need to blend them to achieve the seamless knit constructions. It's a step in the right direction as traditionally the activewear market relies heavily on high contents of synthetics that are derived from petroleum."
Similarly, All Birds sneakers also harness the power of merino wool to not only help minimise their environmental impact but to also better the wearers experience. According to the brand, their new Dasher sneaker is their best and most sustainable shoe yet. The sole is made from sugarcane while the rest of the shoe features sustainable materials like eucalyptus and of course, merino wool — which offers all the benefits we often look for in good quality activewear, breathability, temperature-regulation, moisture-wicking properties and oder reduction.
So will we see more sustainable fabrics like merino wool being used in the activewear industry? Laura is hopeful, "The industry is moving toward more sustainable yarn choices I believe for a few reasons. Designers are becoming more aware how their material and production choices directly impact the environment, and consumers are becoming more educated and waking up to greenwashing and the power they hold in their purchasing.
"People generally want to make conscious choices, and support brands making an effort to be more sustainable. The follow on from that is larger brands and companies are being forced in that direction, due to the pressure from the consumers and industry to be more responsible and ethical. Fast fashion and global brands large scale orders make the most impact on the industry and earth. If the large brands start using all natural, organic and renewable fibres the demand will grow and these fibres and fabrics will likely become more available on the market.
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