This week we’ve been busy celebrating the amazing properties of wool and the important role it plays in sustainable fashion by joining forces with The Campaign for Wool who gave us the honour of officially opening their yearly UK Wool Week at our store in Jermyn Street, London.

The Campaign for Wool was set up in 2010 to promote the incredible benefits and versatility of the very natural fibre that is wool. With HRH The Prince of Wales as their patron they’ve created a global community spanning the full cycle from sheep farmers to consumers.

Merino sheep herd in New Zealand

Why Celebrate Wool?

When it comes to our own Merino wool, we celebrate its beautiful softness every day but there is so much more to wool than first meets the eye (or hand)! Unlike so many of the materials used in fashion today wool is 100% natural and has been treasured since the Stone Age. To name just a few of its excellent properties, it’s breathable, an excellent insulator, renewable and biodegradable.

Sustainability in fashion is high on the agenda for Wool Week, their ambassador Alex James (Blur bassist, cheesemaker, sheep farmer and writer) has a keen interest in this subject. Alex recently presented a documentary, “Slowing Down Fast Fashion” (take a look at the trailer for this below), supported by The Campaign for Wool it explores the negative effects of mass produced “throw-away” fashion on the environment. Speaking about the film Alex comments, “Through this documentary we wanted to give people an opportunity to see their options when it comes to choosing long lasting biodegradable clothes made from fibres such as wool and silk, which unlike man-made materials, break down quickly and don’t clog up landfill sites indefinitely”.

Alex took part in an experiment on the same subject earlier this year in the grounds of the Royal residence of Clarence House. HRH Prince Charles and Alex buried one of our Merino sweaters alongside a synthetic replica to highlight wool’s superb biodegradability. The results of the experiment were displayed at our Jermyn Street store in London this Monday at the opening of Wool Week 2016. It was clear from the results that our own sweater had decomposed considerably whilst the synthetic replica was still very much intact highlighting how such man-made fibres will overflow landfill sites for many years to come.

Alex James displaying the results of the biodegradability experiment, our Merino sweater on the left

Also in attendance at the event was Orsla de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution which raises awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry today. Their work includes the yearly #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign, highlighting the lack of transparency of many major retailers for consumers.

Our MD, Ian Maclean, Alex James and Orsla de Castro opening up a Q&A on sustainable fashion
Alex with the John Smedley x Alex James Merino sweater

To celebrate sustainable fashion and The Campaign for Wool’s Wool Week we collaborated with Alex James to create a stunning limited edition Merino wool sweater which proved to be a huge hit, selling out in a matter of days with GQ magazine heralding it as sustainable & stylish!

We’ve also joining forces with other wool brands for Bicester Village’s “British Wool Collective”, a luxury pop up store celebrating Wool Week. You’ll find us there until the end of the year so make sure you pop in for Christmas gift inspiration if you’re in the area.

To find out more about the sustainability and origins of our Merino click here.

You can shop our beautifully soft Merino here


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