Why Are Merino Wool Garments Expensive Compared to Other Similar Garments?
A good question but quite simple really: it's a naturally produced and harvested but relatively rare commodity that has significant costs associated with it.
- Merino Wool grows "really" slowly. As a result it takes a long time to grow your jumper! In addition, you get roughly 4 times the fibres per square inch of fleece from Merino as you do from conventional wool fleeces when it eventually grows long enough to harvest.
- Merino Wool grows thick in winter and thin in summer meaning you only get 6 months to harvest a winter fleece and 6 months for a summer fleece. This means, flock sizes have to be bigger to service the demand meaning more care, more feed and more shelter for your jumper!
- Merino Wool is incredibly fine. The fibres of Merino Wool are less than half the thickness of the usual wool brands you are more familiar with but it's because of these unique properties that Merino makes such beautiful smooth soft fabrics that don't itch.
- You can get cheap Merino. "Real" Merino Wool is harvested from free living alpine sheep, not factory farmed sheep as in some cases across the world. Think hard about where your wool comes from not just from a sustainable and animal welfare perspective but from the point of view that factory farmed sourced Merino is course, force grown and will not last......it's cheap for a very good reason. Ask your supplier where their wool is sourced. If they can't tell you, then they have answered your question!
- Because of these fine fibres, it takes twice as much wool to make a garment of the equivalent weight using if using "conventional" wool. The problem is, you don't ever want that scratchy, itchy feeling next to the skin that you get from standard wool so Merino which is loved the world over, makes perfect sense. Soft, smooth, scratch and itch free garments that even the kids will love.
- Ethical Farming. We should all take heed of where our clothes come from. It's easy to find "cheap" clothing but at what cost to the environment and humanity in general. Merino wool farmers care for their sheep in a highly ethical way in terms of care and responsible farm management to ensure your "jumper" is as pristine in every respect from the sheep's back to your back. The same can be said for the factories that spin the yarn into the fabric used to make your Merino garment. These factories are closely monitored for ethical trading and the care of workers rights and safety. That all costs in the end but you never hear of a Merino wool mill collapsing and killing it's workers do you?
- Whilst it costs more to create than a synthetic option that is derived from Oil by the way, it lasts a whole lot longer, requires less washing and won't stink you out like many synthetics end up doing. Long after the Oil has run out, Merino sheep will still be producing fleeces to keep you warm as they have done for thousands of years.
Expensive yes, but reassuringly so.