Humans have been washing, weaving, and wearing wool since 10,000 BCE.
There are more than 1,000 sheep breeds in the world. Breeds like the Merino or Rambouillet produce fine wools used mainly for apparel. Breeds like Romney or Scottish Blackface produce thicker wools used generally for
interiors such as interior textiles, décor and carpets.
Merino sheep originated in Spain. In 1789 King Charles IV of Spain gave six Merino sheep as a gift to the Dutch government. These sheep found their way to South Africa, and then were sold to British army officer, politician, and entrepreneur John Macarthur, who took them to Australia.
Today Australia produces 80% of the Merino wool used in luxury fashion and suiting around the world.
Wool currently accounts for 1.1% of the world’s global fibre market. As of 2018 around 1.1 billion sheep produced just over 2 million kilograms of raw wool for home and clothing textiles.
Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Uruguay are also leading producers of the fine wool used in apparel.
Wool’s inherent properties lend itself to a perfect fit in performance, active and sportswear.
Wool goes far beyond fashion. It can also be used to produce carpets, other interior textiles such as bedding, upholstery and insulation, and protective garments worn by firefighters and soldiers.