They have become as ubiquitous with Christmas as candy canes: brightly coloured and boldly decorated, the festive sweater is ingrained in 21st century gift-giving tradition.
But for all their fun, did you know that the majority of holiday sweaters are made from acrylic and polyester? Deriving from petroleum, these man-made fibres are not only coarse on the skin but are the equivalent of wearing plastic shopping bags, not only making them prone to overheating but hugely impactful on the planet, too. In the U.K. alone, it is estimated that we will spend more than £220 million on novelty Christmas sweaters this year. But a jumper is not just for Christmas, and more than a quarter are discarded after just one wear, with charity shops inundated with tens of thousands more. And that’s before the synthetic microfibres find their way to the waterways, where they will disturb the order of natural marine life.
The natural crimp of wool traps pockets of air, insulating your skin from the cold.
By contrast, wool offers a brilliant alternative, and the best jumpers are those made from Merino wool, a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. Did you know that wool can absorb ten times as much moisture vapour as polyester? And that’s not all. The natural crimp of wool traps pockets of air, insulating your skin from the cold. 1kg of dry wool can release the heat equivalent to an electric blanket running for 8 hours. That’s really, really warm. And given that wool is the most re-used and recycled of all the common apparel fibres in the world, through a responsible choice of what we wear we can ultimately contribute to the long-term health of the planet.
Phil wears Maison Margiela distressed wool sweater with knitted present
Penny wears Gucci wool lurex striped sweater with knitted tree
Jimmy wears Calvin Klein 205W39NYC embroidered intarsia-knit wool sweater with knitted snowman
Loli wears Fendi checked wool sweater
Lesley wears A.W.A.K.E. cropped ribbed-knit wool sweater
Shimma wears Double Rainbouu knitted wool sweater
Nathan wears A.P.C. fine Merino wool polo-neck sweater
This holiday season, we’ve teamed up with Australia’s king of crochet, Phil Ferguson, better known as Chili Philly, to create headpieces inspired by the most festive of annual seasons and the jumpers worn with them in our accompanying shoot. Available in stores and online now, shop The Woolmark Company’s gift-giving guide and choose a festive jumper that’s as good for the earth as it is for your wardrobe.