The Woolmark Company’s new environmentally focused global brand initiative, “Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel,” aims to educate people about the hidden impact of synthetic fibers on the environment and how choosing natural fibers such as wool can be a solution to reducing fashion’s impact.
Featuring a series of visual messages that highlight the link between fabrics made from synthetic fibers and the crude oil used in its manufacture, the work is tailored to film and out of home advertising, with initial activity scheduled in the U.S., U.K., France and Australia for September.
Research conducted by The Woolmark Company–a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, which represents the country’s wool industry–has shown that while more than one third of global consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainability, fiber consideration does not feature in the purchase journey. The research also highlighted that consumers are not making the link between synthetic fibers and fossil fuels.
The launch centers around a 60-second film showing people struggling to escape an oil-filled swimming pool, based on the insight that every 25 minutes, an Olympic pool’s worth of crude oil is used to produce synthetic clothing, amounting to almost 350 million barrels per year.
The film is accompanied by visually immersive and striking anamorphic digital out-of-home (DOOH) messaging in sites in London’s Piccadilly Circus and New York’s Times Square, along with global OOH, a WeTransfer partnership and digital and social touchpoints, plus a microsite providing a one-stop-shop to understand the scientific evidence behind the benefits of choosing wool over synthetics fibers.
“It is predicted that in just 10 years’ time, 73 percent of the entire clothing market will be made from synthetic fibers, which are derived directly from fossil fuels,” Woolmark Company managing director John Roberts said. “The impact these clothes have during the use and end of life stages of their lifetime cannot be underestimated. In fact, it’s been said that the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles’ worth of microfibers enter wastewater every year just from washing. Science shows that wool fibers biodegrade in both land and marine environments, so we know that Merino wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution.”
Roberts noted that studies also show that wool clothes are among the oldest in wardrobes, with high levels of reuse and donation, along with high levels of recycling and commercially viable end-of-life pathways.
“These factors alone indicate why choosing clothes made from natural fibers, such as Merino wool, are so important in transitioning to a circular, slow fashion model.”
The film is written and produced in creative collaboration between Park Village, 20something and Studio Birthplace. Fran Docx, strategy partner at 20something, said in 1980, wardrobes were filled with natural materials like cotton, wool and cashmere.
“These natural fibers made up 60 percent of the market, far outstripping the relatively new polyester and polyamide alternatives,” Docx said. “The rise of fast fashion, Instagram outfit culture and turbocharged consumerism has seen a wholesale shift in what lurks in our wardrobes. We rarely make a wider ecological connection between clothes, the fibers they’re made of, and the impact on the planet. Our ambition for our work with The Woolmark Company is to address that and raise awareness of the alternatives to synthetic fabrics.”