Friday, 9 September 2011

Shear Delight: A Celebration of Wool

All my working life I have been surrounded by wool. From my early days as a junior in a tailor's shop, and today when browsing through woollen pattern bunches, I am as excited by wool as I was then.

At Hackett we use an enormous amount of wool to make our clothing, from merino socks to worsted suits. We are famous for our tweed jackets that are made from the wool of cheviot sheep bred in the borders of Scotland and from sheep bred on Exmoor. We stock knitwear from sheep bred on the Shetland Isles for its home spun appearance, and further afield Geelong wool, (the first cut from the sheep) for making our pullovers a soft fine wool from Australia with a luxurious handle. We source from Hinchcliffe, yarn to make up into lambswool sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves and picnic rugs. Our fine knit lightweight jerseys are made from New Zealand merino.

But mostly we use wool when making up our designer menswear suits. In the Winter, nothing looks better or feels better than a woollen flannel suit, and we source the material from Fox Bros in Somerset - probably the oldest mill in the country, with which I have been doing business for more than 25 years. There is often the misconception that wool is only a fabric for Winter, but a great number of our Summer suits are made from lightweight yarns that originate from sheep bred on the grasslands of South Africa.

Unlike cotton there is an elasticity in wool that makes for far greater comfort in warmer climes. It also drapes better than cotton. Our most popular suit is The Travel Suit where we use three ply Hi Twist New Zealand merino yarns to create a suit that is both extremely lightweight and wrinkle free. When I am in the country and I happen to gaze through parkland fencing at a centuries old pastoral scene of sheep grazing contentedly I am reminded of the fact that it is part of the fabric of England.

And long may it prosper.

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