Forensic Integrity

It is the start of 2016 so I predict ever increasing scrutiny of supply chains to ensure that social and environmental values are not compromised in the supply of products and services to consumers, wherever they are and wherever stuff originates.

Starting with the luxury brands, as always, there is a growing demand for complete transparency. We are going to see more labels asking for trust and we are going to see more activist shooting down the tall poppies.

Several years ago we started Laneve, working with a few trusted partners to provide wool carpets and textiles from managed and transparent value chains. At the time we thought transparency was key, but really transparency is just a tool that proves integrity.

As we move beyond a few partners wanting to build trusted brands to a world that must have trust, thanks Volkswagen for making this point loud and clear, we now need to move beyond paper trails and use science to back up claims on origin, provenance and therfor integrity.

Wools of New Zealand have partnered with Oritain to scientifically verify that the products made from our wool have not been tampered with or dumbed down.

This video says it best..

Oritain with Wools of NZ – Fine Cut (1) from Mathew Bartlerr on Vimeo.

Travel New Zealand - Sheep Farm

Flock of sheep, New Zealand.

WOOL | THE NATURAL CHOICE

Wool creates the ideal habitat for homes and offices.

There are so many reasons why New Zealand wool is the perfect material for humans to live with.  Here are a few of the top reasons why wool offers a superior experience than any other finer, natural or man-made.

QUIET & COMFORTABLE – Wool textiles absorb noise and create warmth making your home or office the perfect place for relaxation, concentration and play.  Wool fibres come is a vast array of microns and crimps meaning it absorbs a higher range of frequncies than other flooring materials.

SAFE & ALLERGY SAFE – Wool carpets act as a natural air filter, trapping allergens such as dust and pollen and keeping them out of the breathing zone.  Wool is great for asthmatics as it cannot be digested by dust mites, the main cause of asthma and actually reduced humidity with a room.

CLEAN AIR – Wool absorbs indoor contaminants and purifies the air of harmful gases locking them away for up to 30 years.

OUTSTANDING QUALITY – Wool carpets are renowned for long-lasting good looks and have many inherent qualities that assure performance is locked in. A wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times and bounce-back to its natural shape meaning carpets will look great for years and years.

NATURAL – Wool is rapidly renewable, with each sheep growing a new fleece every year. Wool is biodegradable and full of essential nutrients that plants love. Wool carpets can be returned to nature or recycled into new products.

SUSTAINABLE – Wool is the only widely available carpet fiber not made from oil.

Our wool, Wools of New Zealand wool is a sustainable material which is completely renewable, biodegradable and responsibly grown by farmers who care.  We take special care of the land, the animals and the people so we can keep growing wool for another few thousand years.

Notice below how the most elegant interiors rely on a carpet for quiet and comfortable spaces.

D-Dining-Room-893x1024

wool floors are quiet

Chateauesque Jewel, an entry in the SBID design awards 2015 by Regina Sturrock Design Inc. 

The Perils of Fast Fashion in Interiors

Interior fashion cycles are getting faster with the gap between the catwalk and interiors stores getting shorter all the time.  Associating interiors brands with celebrity and high fashion can be good if this lifts the perceived value of an item, which is then treasured for its aesthetic and its quality.  The manufacture of heirloom pieces is great for building long-term robust and sustainable value chains.  When true craftsmanship is rewarded and quality materials are sought after then the people that grow fibre, sew garments and weave carpets and fabrics all can share the rewards.

It all falls apart however if we follow the fast fashion business model. If textile mills and retail outlets focus on fast turn-around of low quality items from non-sustainable value chains we end up creating waste, using more energy than is required and supporting the throw-away society.

It is better to create beautiful textiles from sustainable materials and to build them well so they last a long time, rather than to manufacture oil based products with the promise to recycle them one day.

The fast fashion culture encourages corners to be cut and lives to be endangered, think Rana Plaza.   This is not just an apparel issue.  There are carpet schemes that guarantee no child labour, but do not take care of the children that are banished from the rug mills.  Those children sometimes move to more dangerous factories.  No we don’t want six year olds making our carpets, we want them in schools paid for by the sale of carpets.

There are rug retailers that push so hard on price that the weavers are forced to use extremely low quality materials and pay very poor wages.  Eliminating unnecessary waste and reproduction is the best thing we can do for the planet and for the people that live here.  Buying something cheap with the aim of throwing it away is the worst legacy we can leave behind.

Children removed from rug factories are often just moved on to other industries.

Children removed from rug factories are often just moved on to other industries.

Talking Wool CPD

This month Wools of New Zealand ran its very first Continued Professional Development (CPD) seminar for members of the Society of British International Design (SBID) in London.

WNZ SBID CPD

Me talking wool. – Image courtesy Marek Sikora – Click for more.

For interior designers to stay relevant they need to keep learning about the materials they specify in human habitats and they have to do this to stay accredited to professional organisations like SBID.

Over a glass of New Zealand wine, and with London as a backdrop we went to the next step in influencing, influential people to specify Kiwi wool.

In two hours we grabbed the attention of some of London’s best architects and designers and focused their attention on wool. We followed up with a book about our New Zealand wool and we made sure everyone took home a catalogue that featured Laneve products (so these people can buy our wool)

The presentation is rich in lifestyle imagery and messages around the benefits of New Zealand wool to the environment and the human habitat. There was the occasional sheep picture too. The question and answer session was lively so we had people engaged and we got people thinking.

This cost time and money, but its free for SBID members to attend.   We do this because ultimately architects and interior designers are our customers. These are the people that demand style, innovation, integrity, provenance and sustainability.   Now a handful of these people are thinking a little bit more about using wool.

London from NZ House

The view outside was amazing – click for more..

Link

“All that is gold does not glitter”

 Being hand woven right now is the ‘Aulana Midas Rug’ created with Aulana technology. All the colours are created using Noble Bond’s remarkable invention that captures the science of pure gold to create colours in pure New Zealand wool.

midas rug aulana

The Midas rug is meticulously hand woven by crafts people at Obeetee

The Midas rug is coloured with pure gold but don’t expect it to shine yellow gold.

Aulana  uses colloidal dispersions of gold within the pores of the wool fibres to generate a boutique range of colours resulting from the localised surface plasmon resonance interaction of light with the surface electrons of the colloidal gold particles. A similar approach was used in early glass making for Gothic Cathedrals, where gold was dispersed as a colloid in the glass matrix to generate red-purple colours. The Aulana technology captures and extends this approach to currently provide a range of colours in shades of pink, mauve, grey and blue.

Wools of New Zealand and Noble Bond Ltd, and our global partners, SoFarSoNear, Grentex, and Obeetee have joined hands to create the Midas rug which will be available to view, by appointment only, at SoFarSoNear’s London showroom in Grosvenor Place.

More information on the Aulana website

The design is by SoFarSoNear and in its final form will represent three circular pieces with the third being a tear drop as below.  This ‘ear ring’ design has been created to illustrate the precious nature of this one-of-a kind remarkable piece.

the midas rug in laneve wool

Rendering of the Midas Rug

Designing Smarter Textiles

Recently I was asked about the integration of electronics into carpets and textiles and what my ideas are to bring this inevitable merger together.

That got me thinking… Is it inevitable?

“Should we be designing smart textiles or should we be designing textiles smarter?”

Yes the Internet of things sees us all being ever more connected, phones are now wearable, your shoes can now talk to your smartphone. There will certainly be a continuation of miniaturisation, automation and personalisation that will make our digital lives seamless. But does it necessarily follow that everything will become smart?

Perhaps the true value of soft furnishings is comfort and style and a release from all things technological?

Anthropology cannot be separated from your future trend mapping. We have to plan textiles that will enrich people’s lives. Textiles need to respond to basic human needs before they can change the TV channel, and lets not forget that good health is a human need. Do we really want to plan a society that is full of lazy, gadget-dependent couch potatoes?

Textiles need to be pure, recyclable, ethically produced and beautiful. Once we master that we can soften the digital world by wrapping it in our woolly luxury.

I’m all for better homes and workplaces and better technology. Safety is a brilliant place to innovate new textiles that will monitor people and their habitats. Ultimately textiles are about comfort; from bearskins in our caves to sheepskin rugs by our curved screen TV’s.

Yes there is a trend to digitise life, but its one trend that responds to a sub-set of human needs. There are many trends that ignore digitisation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t develop smarter fabrics, I’m just saying we should always ask why.

The favourite chair in my house is in a room with no TV.  The furnishings in this space are about escape, switching off, comfort and colour.  Its a space for real human interaction.

Perhaps the smart way to design textiles is to keep them dumb?

 

Desso phillips carpet

Desso use transparent carpet which allows LED’s to shine through.

 

Future Materials.

Remember Crumbwool?

Crumbwool is a carpet underlay which is the result of a partnership between Wools of New Zealand and Anglo Recycling.   It’s made from 100% recycled content,  Wool carpet off-cuts and discarded car tyres.   The proceeds go towards the Woodland Trust.

Its a nice story that underpins the integrity of the world’s most sustainable wool (Laneve)

Actually that’s a bit modest,  Creating Crumbwool meant developing a dedicated machine and some quite remarkable logistics and industry arm twisting.  Anglo Recycling worked a minor miracle to make this possible.

We built the Crumbwool story for the right reasons.  We did not do this for fame, we did it for integrity and to build value.

Now Crumbwool has been listed by Future Materials magazine in its top 100 innovations!

So we are getting noticed, for the right reasons.  The website is www.crumbwool.com

crumbwool creation

Crumbwool is created