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Wool Polishes Its Persona in Two New Collaborative Collections

Wool fabric firms are using the natural fiber’s inherent properties to create new collections geared toward the performance and active lifestyle sectors.

A new capsule collection developed by the Woolmark Company and knitting machine manufacturer Santoni, and designed by knitwear design firm Studio Eva x Carola, gives merino wool a fresh platform in technical seamless performance apparel.

Woolmark’s processing innovation team, seeing a need for seamless yoga apparel made from merino wool, connected with Santoni and its state-of-the-art circular seamless knitting machines to create the collection. The resulting 12-piece collection will now be shown at many top trade shows around the world.

Featuring a vibrant color palette, the Woolmark x Santoni x Südwolle collection includes leggings, crop tops and bras, a racer-back tank top and a T-shirt, all designed with performance in mind. Woolmark noted that merino wool is soft to the skin and is inherently breathable, elastic and odor resistant. In addition, the eco-credentials of the fiber—it’s natural, renewable and biodegradable—align with yoga’s connection with nature and mindfulness.

“With the increasing rise of mindful consumption and the importance of health and well-being, the Woolmark Company brought together a collection of like-minded partners inspired by fitness and yoga’s connection with all things natural,” Julie Davies, Woolmark’s general manager of processing innovation and education extension, said. “This innovative new concept yoga collection draws on the form and function of seamless construction while highlighting wool’s natural benefits and innate versatility.”

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Designers Eva de Laat and Carola Leegwater investigated patterns that have a “future-forward creative sensibility and that complement the female body” when creating product for the capsule collection, they said.

“Structures have been uniquely developed on a stitch-by-stitch level, with the specific aim of reaching our target in combining functionality, 3D structures, softness and color experience and dimension,” the designers added.

Woolmark works closely with spinners to develop merino wool and wool-rich yarns for specific categories, such as performance wear, and drive new market opportunities for wool. Choosing the perfect yarn was a major factor for the design of this collection, with Studio Eva x Carola finding the right balance between pushing a next level three-dimensionality in seamless products with a certain level of performance, and also retaining the right touch and feel. The collection’s yarn is a superfine 15.5 micron merino wool from the Südwolle Group.

“For our next-to-skin yarns, we use superfine merino wool, ranging from 15.5 microns upwards to ensure next-to-skin softness and comfort,” Michel Mastio, director of circular knitting and hosiery yarns at Südwolle Group. “Choosing the right twist level is always a balancing act between the yarn’s hairiness and softness. Next-to-skin clothing must be abrasion resistant and so a higher twist level is needed.”

The collection was constructed using the latest seamless technology circular knitting machines from Santoni Shanghai.

Santoni Shanghai marketing director Leila Guo said, “Combining wool with Santoni Shanghai’s technology means we can create a unique touch experience with fine gauges, no seams and mindful engineering.”

In a new project called Travel Wooling, Eurojersey’s Sensitive Fabrics line of technical jerseys are bonded with its Wool+ line to create innovative outfits for a new urban lifestyle.

For Travel Wooling, Eurojersey worked with Estethia G.B. Conte, a company of the Marzotto Group, to combine technical and high-performing characteristics with a soft and luxurious hand to create a functional and contemporary look.

Travel Wooling also highlights the natural performance of wool fibers such as breathability, temperature regulation, water-repellence and resilience, added to the distinctive characteristics of Sensitive Fabrics for enhanced fit and comfort.