Wool Lifestyle

Our New Zealand wool has impeccable attributes. The integrity of the fibre is outstanding with a lot of effort being poured into its credentials as a truly sustainable material.

None of this matters if we forget to mention how wonderful it is to experience life with wool in your habitat.

Our wool is life enhancing. Wool is a fibre evolved by nature over centuries to provide warmth and safety. It does not melt. Wool won’t attract oily stains like some synthetic fibre.  Wool can breathe and moderate humidity making it great for asthma sufferers. Wool absorbs noise unlike hard floors. Manufactured right 100% wool products will outlast other materials and keep looking good for a very long time.

But what really matters is that wool feels lovely.

People aspire to luxury, and people like to feel good about their investments.  We have the fibre that delivers a luxurious and responsible lifestyle.

anika

 

Second Life SolidWool

SolidWool are a brilliant young company making beautiful items from Herdwick wool.   Hannah and Justin Floyd do an amazing job of designing, manufacturing and marketing their products made in England from British Wool.  Recently we have been working with SolidWool to help find a second life for wool carpets… Full story below.

The SolidWool story is at SolidWool

 

solidwool1

SolidWool table and chair made from recycled wool carpet.

400,000,000kg of carpet fibre is disposed of each year in the UK! Carpet recycling UK have done a great job of diverting almost 1/3 of this into recycled products like Crumbwool carpet underfelt. But we still have a long way to go and we are not even touching post consumer wool carpets.

Recycling is good, but up-cycling is better. By creating added value, sought after products from rescued wool fibre we hope to inspire more investment in up-cycling.

We asked SolidWool to help us on our recycling challenge and they made us these amazing chairs and a coffe table from post-industrial rescued carpet fibre, seen here on the Wools of New Zealand stand at Domotex.

solidwool2DSC_0212

Thanks to Carpet Recycling UK, Anglo Recycling and SolidWool for helping us ensure wool fibre has a second life.

more detail on this story on the Great Recovery website.

 

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.

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.

 

Einstein and Spherical Sheep in a Vacuum

Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday, and weirdly there is no Goggle Doodle celebrating the great man?

Albert Einstein

Albert Eintein

With no Einstein we would not understand the curvature of space and time, we would not know how to bend light and we could not colour wool to be purple using surface Plasmon Resonance, What a dull place the world would be.

Its 135 years since Albert Einstein was born,  at that time the light bulb, which has become a symbol for new ideas, was about to be demonstrated.  Science was about to take us from the industrial revolution into an incredible period of human enlightenment.

Science can now do anything with wool.  Providing we use a spherical sheep inside a vacuum. (Science joke there)

We are however at the start of the next great period in human history when we take the enormous accomplishments made by science and use that knowledge to create a world that is a better place for all of its inhabitants.

The next revolution is about finding ways to deliver luxury without burning through the world’s resources.  We are exploring how we can use science to turn the clock back to 1879 before the world became dependent on oil and to re-invent technologies using rapidly renewable materials, like wool.

Wool Season

It’s Friday afternoon, the last friday before Christmas.

This will be the last WoolBlog post for 2013.   The blog has been found 27,844 times as I write this.  You might be visitor number 27,845 (sorry no prizes).

A friend sent me a Christmas message today with the picture below.  Although obviously missing one of the best opportunities of the year to send sheep pictures about, I think this is a brilliant reminder of why we need natural and therefor biodegradable products.

Where are the sheep!

Where are the sheep!

After we unwrap our presents next week lets all recycle the packaging.

It’s time to put down your iPad, turn off your PC, Put the phone on silent and go have a brilliant festive season with the things that really matter – the people you care about.

Look forward to more sheep antics and sustainable woolly rants in 2014 – thanks for reading WoolBlog

Titus & Tangled

Gorillas in the wool.

This is Titus (of Gorillas in the mist fame) as drawn by Emma J Shipley, a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art.

Titus on Blazer

Titus the Gorilla

Emma has worked with Camira Fabrics to create the Titus and Tangled collections, printed onto beautiful Laneve wool from New Zealand.  Emma is known for her amazingly intricate and detailed line drawings.  Her style has been described as “meticulously precise” and “astonishingly skilful and distinctive”.

Camira Fabrics are known for technical excellence and stunningly attractive interior upholstery fabrics.   They are a team of highly motivated textile innovators with a social conscience.   This is the same Camira who have worked with Wools of  New Zealand to support the endangered Hector’s Dolphin.

This time Camira are supporting the Gorilla Organization, which works internationally to protect the world’s remaining gorillas in their natural habitat in Central Africa.

More information on Camira’s website.. 

Camira have produced two designs from Emma Shipley’s artwork, both printed on Blazer fabric which is woven with Laneve wool (all traceable to our farms)

Tangled

Tangled by Emma Shipley and Camira on NZ wool