After what felt like an endless summer, the colder months are finally catching up to us. The sun is setting that little bit earlier and we’re now rising before daylight. There’s a chill in the air. Our woolly knits are being pulled to the front of our wardrobes, and sandals are swapped for boots.

Though synonymous with crisp, winter weather, Merino wool is a more versatile fabric than you may appreciate. Beyond your crew-neck knit, oversized scarf, and the classic Australian Ugg boot, Merino wool is often the base of many cross-seasonal designs, from activewear to light-weight suiting.

“Wool is most beautiful, most kind to our skin and best for the earth in its natural form.” - Wolfgang Scout

“We believe in treading lightly on this earth and creating long-lasting products...” - W.S

What is Merino Wool?
We have a long history with wool. Around 1950 the saying that Australia ‘rode on the sheep’s back’ entered our lexicon, alluding to wool as the source of our nation’s prosperity. Wool is one of our heirloom exports. Those who bred sheep and sheared their fleece came to symbolise and epitomise what it was to be Australian.

Merino wool is a natural fibre grown by Merino sheep, a breed that produces the finest wool for high-quality, luxury apparel. It’s a softer and thinner wool, making it more versatile and easier to work with. Consequently, Merino has a softer hand feel in comparison to other wool, so the garments it produces can be worn comfortably against the skin. The vast majority of Australia’s sheep flock is Merino, and Australia produces 81% of the world’s ‘superfine’ wool.

Though our near 4000 dedicated sheep shearers work amongst the harsh Australian elements, the lanolin, or wool yolk, gifts shearers with the softest of hands.

“We believe in treading lightly on this earth and creating long-lasting products to be worn well and passed down to future generations.” - Wolfgang Scout

Why we love Merino Wool.

A wholly natural fibre, Merino wool offers its wearer a multitude of benefits. The natural fibre allows for thermoregulation. This means that, during those warmer days, Merino will transport sweat away from the skin, to keep the wearer cool and dry. In contrast, when it’s colder the natural ‘crimps and bends’ in the fibres trap air, which mimics insulation to retain heat. Thus, it’s not uncommon to see merino wool used for high-quality sportswear. The wool also contains odour-resisting properties, as it has a larger capacity than other fibres to absorb liquid.

The benefits of Merino wool extend to the environment. As the shorn fleece of a sheep, it is an entirely renewable and regenerative resource. If left untreated or dyed naturally, the fibres are completely biodegradable, preventing the garments from adding to landfill. After about 12 months in the ground, it will have decomposed, returning to nature.

Impact of producing Merino wool on the animals.

When reviewing fabrications borne from a living creature, it’s crucial that we consider the welfare of the animal. Merino sheep's most common breed is the Peppin sheep, originally bred by the Peppin family in the 1860s. In order to produce more wool, the sheep are bred to have wrinkly skin. This breeding resulted in sheep producing roughly twice as much fine, high-quality wool. Proper care and maintenance are essential for the well-being of flocks. When not shorn on a timely schedule, these sheep can suffer from life-threatening heat exhaustion during Australia’s warmer months.

Due to breeding, Peppin sheep are also vulnerable to flystrike, a parasitic infection with a significant mortality rate if left untreated. As a preventative measure, a controversial procedure called mulesing is performed. This is when skin near the buttocks of a sheep is removed. While it’s effective at preventing flystrike, it can be incredibly traumatic for the sheep and puts their welfare at risk. Until recent years mulesing was performed without the use of painkillers or anesthetics. However, there has been improvement in Australia, with an estimate of 80% of sheep now receiving pain treatment.

New Zealand has taken a stronger stance against this issue, and since 2018, mulesing has been banned nationwide. Following suit, many retailers who produce Merino goods will now clearly state if their products come from non-mulesed sheep. Bales of wool can be certified either non-mulesed or pain relief used. Many European buyers are moving away from Australian wool as fashion companies turn to a more transparent supply structure.

Brands that focus on the ethical production of Merino.

At Showroom-X, we are proud to work alongside Australian brands who are responsibly sourcing Merino wool. Among the brands privileging the welfare of sheep and the planet over profit are Wolfgang Scout and Bassike.

Wolfgang Scout, brought to life by Carla Woidt and Marianne Horton, is renowned for their high-quality merino garments. The two women at the helm of the brand make sure that their yarn is fully traceable back to the grower. This ensures non-mulesed sheep and RWS (responsible wool standard) certified wool, meaning the animals and the land are treated with care and respect.

“We believe in treading lightly on this earth and creating long-lasting products to be worn well and passed down to future generations.” - Wolfgang Scout

Their wool is also 100% Australian Superfine Merino, a measurement used to describe the diameter of wool fibre, which is a quality micron rarely found in hand-knit garments. Wolfgang Scout has also eliminated the use of chemicals through the scouring, carding and combing process.

“Wool is most beautiful, most kind to our skin and best for the earth in its natural form.” - Wolfgang Scout

Bassike was founded back in 2006 with the aim of creating sustainable wardrobe staples. They’ve made a conscious effort to manufacture and source with the environment in mind from inception. This is reflected in the production of their woolen garments, with materials being sourced from Italian suppliers utilising non-mulesed sheep.

We are grateful that there are Australian brands who cherish the importance of sheep and their woolen fleece to our nation’s past and present. With a little research, there are sustainable options available to us all to ensure the wellness of not only the sheep but our planet. Next time you pull on your favourite woolen sweater or Merino blazer, we hope you consider the process your garment went through from the sheep’s back, to yours. It’s up to us to make the conscious decision.



Wolfgang Scout



Farm Online