The Wool Diaries

7 June 2013

Highlighting the importance of experimentation, historical research and the innovative implementation of wool and techniques, the Wool Diaries tells the story of three Dutch designers’ journeys in the TextielLab.

Located in Tilburg, the Netherlands, the TextielLab is part of the TextielMuseum and is a unique textile production and knowledge centre where designers can experiment and create their own fabrics and materials.

Made possible by The Woolmark Company in conjunction with creative institute Premsela (part of The New Institute) and the TextielMuseum, the Wool Diaries sees three Dutch designers focus on creating unique and innovative fabrics from wool. From the material created each designer formed a mini collection of two to three innovative and sustainable designs in their own studio.

Borre Akkersdijk (byBorre), Pauline van Dongen and Oda Pausma took the challenge to emphasise the importance of experimenting, historical research and the innovative implementation of wool and techniques.

The Woolmark Company country manager for Benelux, Ingrid Oomen, said the Wool Diaries project was a joint effort by all organisations involved.

“All three institutions invited three young, talented Dutch designers to create unique and innovative knits and wovens with Merino wool,” Ms Oomen said. “Starting with only yarn, the designers learnt how to work with wool in an experimental way.

“The Woolmark Company’s role was to provide information on wool and access to suppliers. The TextielLab guided the designers technically and has the final mini collections on exhibition in its museum. Premsela arranged the PR and made a film – which visually diarises the day-to-day work of the designers during the month and hence the name the Wool Diaries.”

The mini capsule collections and the film will be exhibited in the TextielMuseum until September 29.


The team behind byBorre, consisting of fashion designer Borre Akkersdijk and graphic designer Daan Spangenberg was inspired by the great outdoors. As a sustainable alternative to the many synthetic materials which are used in performance wear these days, the duo researched the essence of wool and the loom.

With only one yarn, byBorre created both extremely thin and thick fabrics that highlight the waterproof and dirt repellent character of wool.

The final collection, titled Binary Collection, is a series of timeless and classic outfits which require minimal maintenance.

Pauline van Dongen

Pauline van Dongen’s focus lay with creating a woollen fabric with a technical character and construction. Inspired by space-time dimensions, she took unique properties of wool to the point where she was able to sculpt the materials. By taking advantage of wool’s resilience she created a woollen pleated fabric from which she designed a sculptural dress.

Van Dongen also created passements with wool yarn. This artisan technique allowed the designer to assemble a top without using a sewing machine, meaning the garment can be assembled and disassembled in many ways, increasing versatility.

The special collection created for the Wool Diaries is called Hyperspace and is made up of three different outfits.

Oda Pausma

Oda Pausma, a fashion designer with a simplistic and feminine character, utilises plenty of leather in her designs. This project challenged Pausma to use a sustainable alternative, wool, that could compete with the leather aspects on her designs.

In the TextielLab, Pausma researched different ways to recreate a hide out of woollen material. By creating a pattern with the same characteristics of animal hide, including veins and pores, she achieved an end result which resembles leather in many different ways. The end result shows a feminine, contemporary design made possible by the two innovative fabric creations.


  • Photography: Wouter Vandenbrink @ Eric Elenbaas Agency
  • Styling: Maarten Spruyt @ House of Orange / assistant Maaike Strengholt
  • Models: Duco s/I am elk, Anine/Paparazzi hair and make-up Yvonne Nussdorfer/Angelique Hoorn
  • Concept: Maarten Spruyt&Wouter Vandenbrink