As sports and outdoor retailers across the world continue to turn to Merino wool for cutting-edge performance apparel, The Woolmark Company returned to ISPO Munich, showcasing the latest innovations in wool for retailers and buyers.
The activewear market is the fastest-growing sector of the $1.7 trillion global textile business. The Woolmark Company’s investment in the sports and outdoor market seeks to build demand pressure in a consumer segment that has experienced rapid growth over the past decade and one in which wool, as a fibre, has had a relativity low market share.
Increased competition in this activewear market means a growing number of brands are looking to innovate with natural performance fibres, such as Australian Merino wool. This move not only allows for a point of difference, but also fulfils the demand of an environmentally-aware consumer seeking a healthier lifestyle.
In partnership with manufacturers and retail brands these wool and wool-rich products – such as for yoga, hiking and cycling – are gaining consumer acceptance, with the latest and most innovative product on display at The Woolmark Company’s stand, located in Wool Street.
The latest edition of The Wool Lab Sport was available for viewing, providing direct access to the world’s most innovative technical performance fabrics and yarns for Spring/Summer 2020. Included in the sourcing guide were 100 per cent wool and wool-rich outer-wear fabrics offering protection from the elements whilst maximising wool’s natural benefits of comfort and breathability. The selection included a wide variety of fabric types and technical blends in single and double weaves or in laminated and bonded versions. Of particular interest was a unique wool-rich windbreaker at a weight of less than 60gsm.
Mid- and base-layers continue to grow, with special lightweight constructions in 100 per cent wool along with unique blends such as with Cordura and ripstop alternatives. The Wool Lab Sport also highlighted the latest knitting technology, utilising high-tech ADF knitting techniques, giving wool products the extra edge.
“The rapid growth in demand for technical textiles has significantly boosted Merino wool’s prominence in the sportswear industry due to the fibre’s naturally inherent qualities,” says The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. “As consumers demand more from their products, they turn to brands who in turn look to us to innovate with fabric constructions and manufacturing techniques, pushing the limits of sportswear and taking the fibre even further into the future.”