Organic wool receives warm welcome by clothing retailers
14 Jun '07
2 min read
Organic wool is the new topic pricking up the wool industry's ears, with interest in the product rising steeply in the past few months.
Britain's largest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer toured Australian organic wool farms earlier last month to source the highest-quality fibre for their new clothing range.
Multi-product textile and clothing group Ciel Textile will make 650,000 woollen garments for the retailer. Marks and Spencer is one of the world's largest wool users, with an annual demand of over 8 million kilograms.
Organic wool originates from farms free of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms. The sheep are free range, allowing for natural behaviour, and are free from disease. An 'organic certificate' is issued, certifying the authenticity of the clip.
Marks & Spencer's first organic wool knitwear range will be introduced in the UK as early as Autumn.
Closer to home on May 24, Elders put forward 705 bales of certified and accredited organic wool in Australia's largest ever organic wool sale.
“Our first organic feature sale last year attracted widespread interest among specialist wool growers and overseas wool buyers, and with such a large offering of organic wool in this next feature sale, the level of attention and support should be even greater,” said Elders Wool general manager, Mark Rodda.
Australia produces 300 clean tonnes of certified organic wool a year. This is 0.1 per cent of the national total. Dr Paul Swan, AWI Programme Manager for Knowledge Services, said retail market research predicts this could rise to 5–10% of the market.
“A number of retailers are already sampling organic wool products – it's very much a case of watch this space,” he said.