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Wool a hot topic for sports and outdoor brands

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With the sports and outdoor market continuing to play a large and increasingly important part in Australian Wool Innovation’s (AWI) product development and marketing strategy, AWI once again exhibited at this year’s ISPO trade show – the world’s largest trade show targeting activewear and sports apparel. It was the biggest one yet, with ISPO welcoming 2,801 exhibitors and more than 84,000 visitors from 120 countries to the trade show in Munich, Germany.

Following the success of previous shows, AWI was instrumental in organising the ‘Wool Lounge’ – the fair’s epicenter for all things wool and featuring leading brands including H. Dawson, Südwolle Group, Shepherd, Italfil, Lavalan, Australian, Diyang, Marbäck Tricot, Engel, Utenos, Xinao, Schoeller, Blum Textil, Davifil and The Woolmark Company.

At The Woolmark Company’s stand, the latest innovations co-developed by AWI’s in-house technical team were on display, including wool footwear, seamless apparel and wool filling – which provides a natural alternative to traditional synthetic wadding. Also on show was the latest edition of The Wool Lab Sport, featuring a collection of the world’s best technical fabrics and yarns.

Lars Ulvesund, AWI’s sports and outdoor advisor was in attendance at ISPO and reports that: “our stand recorded the most number of visitors compared to previous years.”

“While many outdoor brands already have wool in their collection, we have seen a number of brands introduce wool into their high-intensity categories, with pieces suited towards cycling and running. We are also experiencing a higher number of lightweight Merino wool pieces being introduced for Spring/Summer collections.”

Devold, a Norwegian outdoor clothing retailer and long-term partner of The Woolmark Company won an ISPO Award 2018 for its Tuvegga Sport Air base-layer. The reversible two-sided functional base-layer is designed for high-performance activities and is made from 100% Merino wool.

Another outdoor brand that has taken wool to the next level is XTM Performance – one of the largest skiwear brands in the Southern Hemisphere. XTM Performance supplies the whole Australian Winter Olympic team with wool performance clothing.

At the PyeongChang Winter Olympic games in Korea, the Australian Winter Olympic team was kitted out with XTM Performance Australian Merino gear. As part of the uniform the team had a Merino base-layer set of top, pants, a Merino neck warmer, three types of technical Merino ski and snowboard socks and in case of extreme cold a Woolzy (full Merino one piece).

Not only is wool making its presence known in performance clothing, the latest innovations in wool have also led to the rise of wool footwear – shoes that enhance the fibre’s natural properties whilst constructed in a way which aids performance. The Woolmark Company’s technical team has been working to create shoes that are not only comfortable and allows your foot to breathe, but is also resistant to odour and wicks away moisture.

“Thanks to our more active lifestyle and casual approach, runners are undoubtedly one of the most popular items in today’s global market,” explains The Woolmark Company’s General Manager, Processing Innovation & Education Extension, Julie Davies.

“The natural properties of wool – such as odour resistance, breathability, comfort and shape retention – allows for the ultimate in footwear. By working closely with our supply chain partners, we have been able to develop technically advanced yarns to be incorporated into the upper, inner and liner for a range of machine washable footwear.”

Source: AWI

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