The British wool industry is in crisis

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Cream fair isle sweater, £175, Toast

“When we launched, very few fashion brands were using wool,” says Coleridge, who is now chairman of the campaign. “I always knew fast-fashion companies would reject wool as it stands for everything they don’t: it’s designed to last and is more expensive. But a decade ago, even the established high-street brands had stopped using wool. Everything was made from oil-based synthetics. So it is very cheering to see how much the industry has changed.”

Today stores like John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have partnered with the campaign and, thanks to a new emphasis on sustainability, use wool in many of their collections. A number of smaller independent brands focusing exclusively on wool-based products have also launched, and found that the pandemic has boosted their sales.

“There is a sense of people buying less but better and choosing very consciously to invest in pieces that last,” says Buffy Reid, the founder of &Daughter, a knitwear brand that sells the sort of chunky British-made jumpers that make you feel warm just looking at them. “Wool is a material that’s embedded in our earliest memories of comfort. Everyone can tell you a story about their favourite woollen jumper.”

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