Savory Institute team member, Chris Kerston, was invited to speak at the International Wool Trade Organization’s (IWTO) roundtable event in Port Elizabeth, South Africa earlier this month. South Africa is one of the premier wool growing and processing regions of the world. This annual event is designed to bring people together from across the wool industry to help develop new collaborations and synergies in both the textile and apparel industries. Our founder, Allan Savory, spoke at one of the IWTO gatherings in 2014 (watch here). This led to a demand for closer interaction with the Savory Institute, as wool producers there proactively look for ways to further improve their grazing management to regenerate their landscapes.
Here is an example of one of the community wool projects that Rolf has helped cultivate:
Unfortunately, too much of our modern population has lost touch with the amazing properties of wool, especially for their daily-wear choices. Polyester and other petroleum-based synthetic-imitations make up most of the fast-fashion sweaters and other faux-wool items sold today. However, the reality is that when wool is processed correctly it is an outstanding material, one that cannot really be rivaled in performance by any other fabric. For example, many people are surprised to learn that the majority of quality men’s suits are made from 100% wool. Wool has properties that keep the wearer cool during the hot months and then the same garment will keep the wearer warm during the winter months. When the right fleeces are used in the correct applications, wool is not in any way itchy but quite the contrary, it is incredibly soft and supple. Luckily, we are seeing a resurgence of wool products coming back in the luxury categories but also in performance-wear. Many outdoor brands are bringing back wool for its incredible versatility; it is breathable, naturally water-repellent and has unparalleled odor-control. Most of the major outdoor brands have released special lines featuring wool base layers and even wool underwear. The days of scratchy wool are over! Recent studies are even showing that superfine merino can actually be therapeutic for people who have eczema and other skin irritation conditions (see video below).
If you haven’t seen our Story of Wool episode be sure to watch it here: