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.
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.