The Woolmark Company presented the latest innovations in Merino wool as a performance fibre at the recent ISPO trade exhibition.
This year’s ISPO trade fair attracted 81,000 visitors from 109 countries – an increase of four per cent compared with 2012. The Woolmark Company was among 2481 exhibitors, all showcasing the latest technical advancements and providing a feast of the latest outdoor gear and fashion.
Following a widespread uptake of Merino wool for next-to-skin products, a majority of the world’s leading outdoor brands are now incorporating the latest innovations of Merino wool into their collections. And according to The Woolmark Company Sports/Outdoor category manager Lars Ulvesund a continuous feed of new innovations is crucial in this competitive and technical market sector.
“We have seen this new Merino market grow significantly for the past five years, and based on what the leading brands exhibited at ISPO and the discussions we had with the designers, the outlook is very positive,” Mr Ulvesund said.
Matthias Boehme from Lavalan – a manufacturer of new wool filling who exhibited at ISPO – said the demand for the fibre was amazing.
“For us, the past two months – with ISPO being the peak – has been overwhelming,” Mr Boehme said.
“The customer base and the volume for wool filling in jackets are going way beyond our expectations.
Wool is definitely the hot fibre in sports right now and we’re glad to be here and take part.”
According to Mr Ulvesund, Merino wool is very much in focus amongst the more upmarket brands, for several reasons.
“Functional performance is an obvious key in this product group; however provenance is gaining more and more attention,” he said. “Brands see the value in being able to tell where the Merino wool is coming from, linking the fibre to its history and heritage. Natural and renewable properties are also becoming increasingly pertinent as consumers are becoming more concerned with eco-credentials.”
Once again The Woolmark Company, in co-operation with ISPO organisers, arranged Wool Street: an indoor boulevard flanked with trade stands from major outdoor apparel brands. For the third year Wool Street proved the place to be, with brands such as Devold, Dale, Aclima, Wool Power, Designer Textiles, Charles Parsons, Merino Solutions and others joining The Woolmark Company to promote the latest and very best in wool.
Building on the already comprehensive MerinoPerformTM range, The Woolmark Company presented the latest commercial developments and highlighted fabrics and products which offer maximum innovation, comfort and performance.
Four standout products The Woolmark Company exhibited at ISPO were:
Hiking Trousers and Jackets in woven fabrics. One new area is woven performance fabrics, whereby Merino wool is making the difference through its built-in thermo regulating properties as well as its high-capacity breathability. This product offers flexibility and is suitable for a wide variety of climates.
MerinoPerform™ Wool Fill
This new product has already generated a lot of interest and brings about exciting advantages to the outer-layer, such as a wool-filled ski jacket. Merino wool offers superior insulation, thermoregulation and breathability, all of which work seamlessly together, providing comfort no matter the season.
MerinoPerform™ Soft and Hard Shell linings
A soft or hard shell jacket lined with Merino wool - drop or bonded - stops the chill transportation and cleverly absorbs both vapour and condensation, creating a dry and comfortable insulating microclimate.
A unique woven fabric based on a process where the wool fibre is mechanically stretched and then consolidated. It involves a process that delivers an almost water and windproof 100 per cent wool fabric without the assistance of membranes or coatings and with maintained breathability and moisture management.