The Ultimate Purple Sheep


Textiles Coloured with Pure Gold

This is probably the 1st time you will read the word “Aulana”, but remember the name because this is truly a remarkable new innovation for wool textiles.

The name Aulana is derived from Au – the symbol for gold and Lana – latin for wool.

It is the ability to colour wool garments, textiles, carpets etc, by using particles of real gold. Deep rich colour can be created without dyestuff. The colour is made by bending light itself.

The process, known as Surface Plasmon Resonance sounds complicated, but it has actually been happening for centuries. The red glass in gothic cathedrals was coloured by putting gold into the molten glass; it just took a few genius to figure out why this happened. It was Brit Michael Faraday who figured that out, but it took another century for someone to find a way to use this effect for textiles.

Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kirsten Lucas, both of Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand, and now the proud owners of Noble Bond Ltd, worked out that they could change the colour by altering the gold particles at a nano-scale, and then they figured out how to make these particles stick permanently to wool. We say Permanent but the effect could wear off after 10 thousand years or so. The colour can be changed to a boutique range, notably shades of pink, mauve, regal purple, blue and grey. Aulana contains only pure wool and pure gold, no dyes are required!

AuLana has become a way to innovatively link the high value and prestige of gold with high quality merino and strong wool for high value fashion apparel and luxury textiles and carpets.

As an extra bonus the textiles will also be completely anti-microbial and have enhanced conductivity. Not only will you be wearing real gold, you won’t smell and you won’t get static shocks.

Wools of New Zealand is bridging the gap between the science and the market. Part of my job over the last few years has been to foster this innovation and help steer it into real life products. This means engaging with luxury brands and making the science work for the market. The success of Aulana won’t be luck, clever science combined with smart marketing will guarantee success.

By working with Innovation focused the Huddersfield Textile Centre of Excellence, in Yorkshire, UK, we have been able to take this technology from a laboratory and into rapid prototyping, and market analyses. Suiting fabric has been woven by the centre, which will also use its vast textile connections to link Aulana with key fashion labels.

A suit featuring Aulana

The key market for this product is the high-end, luxury apparel market, particularly in the BRIC countries and Arab region. The incorporation of coloured gold provides a distinctive high quality point of difference and is expected to add significant value and a unique selling point to the high quality worsted manufactured in Yorkshire. Additionally, it is a good opportunity to demonstrate the use of the Yorkshire Signature DNA to provide the proof of provenance and authenticity which is increasingly valued in these growing markets.

We are also working with interior textiles companies and carpet manufactuers on a range of product options.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the purple sheep, A purple sheep is a metaphor for something worth remarking about. Purple sheep get noticed as they stand out from the flock. Aulana is just getting started but it is going to get noticed.

And if you wonder why an artist, textile designer and innovator wears a pinstripe suit, its because the stripe in the suit is coloured with Aulana Pure Gold.

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Purple Sheep

  1. What a fantastic use of 2 amazing natural products! I am in awe of this New Zealand couple in harnessing this ancient art form to enhance their woolen product and value add both products. Wool is the king of natural fibres and Gold is the rightful heir to the throne when it comes to that majestic mariage. I am sure that this united product could be marketed in every high end shop in the world as an exclusive and most desirable product. Well done for the value adding to this couple and no doubt they will be reaping the benefits of their hard archeological and scientific studies to give their idea life. I have personally never heard of Aulana and Cheers for my “something new today” being achieved so very early in the morning. I can now put my brain on hold for a whole Sunday :)

  2. I am so happy to visit your blog. I LOVE textiles! As a commercial interior designer, working with the textiles are one of my favorite things about the work! Thank you for stopping by my blog, if you hadn’t, I would not have seen yours! :)

  3. Nice blog! and sounds like a cool job — foster this innovation and help steer it into real life products. Integrating tech with fashion and textiles is something I am very interested in…What are your top challenges in this market?

    • Hello Radhika, The only challenge is finding enough time, everything else just takes hard work. Getting people to stop what they are doing and to try a new innovation is perhaps the hardest part, so it’s easier to to work with people who are positive about change.

  4. Pingback: Scarcity | WOOLBLOG

  5. I think the name AuLana is excellent and meaningful. I would love my Cosy Toes customers to have their babies with Aulana socks. That would be the best – precious little feet dressed in wool and gold!

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