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Do you know your wool?

(a cloud of suspiciously blended fibres is hidden in our wardrobe)

Colorful yarns rolled as a galaxy. Blue, orange, yellow, green, brown

When I think about wool there are 2 images that appear in my mind: a cartoonish sheep with a big, very unrealistic fleece and a soft scarf on my cheek with a highly sensory memory attached. Probably a version of these images comes to your mind.

The beautiful, textured feeling we have touching garments made of wool is paired with the equally amazing quality of these fibres. Just briefly: elastic, breathable and also absorbing moisture; isolating, keeps the warm from the cold outside, but also the cold from the heat outside, think about the Tuareg in the Sahara desert. (The characteristics vary slightly from one animal to the other, more info here)

Wool for winter is likely to be the best choice. We know as our grand grandparents knew. But the truth is that nowadays it's not so common that the jumpers, jackets and scarf available in shops or online are pure wool, recycled or not, or a blend of natural fibres… even if we shop for known brands.
4 labels showing the composition percentage

We think it's wool when it looks like it, but as for the book cover, it may contain just as little as 10 or 20% of it. Sometimes you can read a very misleadingly bold "wool" on the tag or the page, while the internal label is telling a totally different story. The blend with synthetic fibres can vary very widely and wildly.

Why do they do that? Why blend it?

  • Price. Synthetic fibres can mimic wool to have (an initial) appearance of pure wool but with a substantially lower price for the brand (because the environmental damage is not calculated in the price).

  • Wider purposes. Adding different characteristics to the regular wool, like stretchability and elasticity for example. We can just think about socks.

What's the problem?

When we buy something we want to be sure of what we are paying for. From the electricity provider to the new phone we simply check the features, so we should pay the same attention to our clothes.

If we want a woolen cardigan or a jacket we can very easily checking the internal label or making sure that the online shop is stating clearly its composition. We can't trust the price as a quality measure.

When we buy wool we are probably investing a bit more on the immediately, but we are actually saving in the long term. This is not just (?) because it's higher quality material.

We save because:

clothes last longer, and are beautiful as they were brand new (sometimes they get better with use),

they need as low as cold water to be washed, but also... we will need to wash less!

Wool sweaters can be washed just a few times per year. It is enough to let them hang inside or outside and do the nose test.

(I may write specifically on this magic soon)

I suggest you check what you actually have in your wardrobe. It's a revelatory exercise especially when you look at the pieces from the more expensive brands (just saying for experience).

Don't get rid of the blended wool clothes you have in your wardrobe!

Take good care of your clothes, also the fast fashion super synthetic ones, and try to make real choices when you need to shop for something new.

I'm partial to natural fibres, local sustainable brands and designs I know I will like and wear for a long time.

BUT if you want something out of the line, crazy, that is for sure synthetic, fast fashion, etc., choose to explore one of the many fantastic second-hand shop, a swap event or a platform, or rent it! All of these options are widely available in Dublin. Get your fix with something that it's already made, love it and take care of it.

Sustainable shopping has many faces and is not boring or stressing!

On the topic there are many books, this is one that you can order from our local bookshop or s ebook.

Let me know if you are up for the Narnia adventure and your findings!

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