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Innovation required for deeper impact of wool goods
May '10
According to General Secretary of French Wool Association and Director of Economic Affairs of French Textile Federation, Hubert du Potet, innovation is the vital point in sustaining the profile and to increase the wool demand, in a competitive global textile and fibre market.

Potet while addressing representatives during this month's World Merino conference in France said that, wool has been surviving through the test of time due to its rare natural characteristics and qualities that continues to maintain it as a valuable fibre in the market.

The key properties that were found in wool in archaic times are still the primary qualities that make wool a unique fibre even during the 21st century, added Potet.

Varied tribes and countries around the globe have made use of wool for clothing for as long as 10,000 years. Sheep was then considered as mankind's oldest local animal. It is a tough, fire repellent fibre with unmatched qualities and all it requires is a second life with few new concentrated markets.

According to Potet, there were three main steps responsible for the birth of world wool market. During 1940, wool represented 134 million kilograms, then in 1980 increased to 1599 million kg while its market share was at five percent.

However, in 2008 it fell to 1191 million kg. During 2008, wool's market share was 1.6 percent as compared to man-made synthetics that stood at 65.3 percent, cotton that was recorded at 32 percent, flax was at 0.9 percent and silk was recorded at 0.2 percent. In

If the wool industry wants to compete with other fibres and target high-value and quality-driven markets, then its goods need to be urbanized by making use of innovative technologies. The future of the industry depends on how innovative it gets with changing times, how the industry makes use of the fibre in varied ways and how the industry is able to predict the changing consumer lifestyle trends, informed Potet.

Wool goods should be promoted but by not merely limiting it to fashion-oriented goods. The wool products must, with new innovations and technicalities, be used in other areas as well. And this was only possible if laboratories continued with their research and innovation on new uses of wool fibre and its goods by utilizing newer processes, said Potet.

Wool can explore into other interesting markets, but the bottom-line is that, with all its natural qualities it was still, as against man-made fibres, a modern fibre. It is the most adaptable fibre for consumer apparels, home furnishings and technical textiles markets, averred Potet.
However, during the past two decades, the European production of woolen goods had dipped adversely especially due to cheap labour and modernization.

Potet informs that, 1990s started witnessing a fall in the wool product demand thanks to modern styles and focus on synthetics, which most of the times are soft and less padded as compared to wool.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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