The Wonderful World of Wool

Have you ever found yourself wearing everything you own, running for a train / meeting / date only to arrive dripping in sweat, which is made worse by biting wind chill factors condensing sweat into an icy liquid underlayer? Flustered, colder than you were originally and generally feeling like renton coming off the skag?

We've all been there. And there are a few reasons as to why it happens.

Firstly, stop being late. It's rude and in the long run it's bad for your health.

Secondly, consider the materials you're wearing. As much as it's a cliche, quality trumps quantity and less certainly can be more. When buying clothes for winter, look at the fabric composition. Clothes can be generalised into three categories - natural, synthetic and blended, which have a huge impact on warmth (wickability), comfort and longevity.

There is no substitute for natural fibers and in this instance that means 100% wool. Wool is one of the most versatile raw materials in the world and it's popularity is growing after decades of cheap synthetic imports; in a time when provenance, integrity and sustainability holds the utmost importance.

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It's natural super properties make wool my go to fabric all year round, but especially in winter. Whether it's knitted, woven or worsted (where the yarn is twisted to create thinner yet stronger fibers), wool has the ability to warm you up and wick away moisture, keeping you warm but not sweaty, cosy and dry; by extracting moisture from the surface of the body and releasing it into the ether.

Synthetic materials like polyester or acrylic are often found in cheap, high street jumpers, scarves and suits, among other things. It's used because it's cheap to produce, cheap to buy and cheaply increases the yield of cloth. Synthetics don't have the same qualities of wool, they trap moisture, rather than wicking it away (that's what gives you the cold sweat).

Scotland is known for it's production of natural wool products; we've been doing it for years and we're pretty good at it. The abundance of woollen products made in Scotland is fantastic; from huge producers like Johnstons of Elgin, Harris Tweed Hebrides or Lochcarron to smaller, specialist design companies such as Edition Scotland, Heather Shields and Dhu Cashmere. From suits and coats to jumpers and socks, I guarantee that a Scottish company is the market leader.

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So this winter, do a bit of research, read the labels, ditch the man made cheap stuff and invest in some good quality wool.

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Menswear designer @ ten30 Tutor @ Glasgow School of Art Student @ Royal School of Needlework QEST scholar Currently loving costal life in Ayrshire
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