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Organic wool

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What is Organic Wool?

La organic wool is a natural textile fiber of animal origin. Wool is certainly one of the natural fabrics most used in the world, but what not everyone knows is that it can be taken from animals other than sheep, such as camels, rabbits, alpacas, etc.

The sheep are certainly the wool animals more used, or rather "exploited". We are in favor of developing a 100% cruelty free fashion and have always pushed in this direction, but we are also aware that this change will be slow and "perhaps" never 100% feasible.

We have chosen to talk about the organic wool as a sustainable material for the environment and ethical towards wool animals, in the hope that over time it can completely replace the common wool, which we remember comes mostly from the cruel intensive breeding.

Organic is synonymous with normal: animals that live freely in the pastures, shorn at the right times of the year, and above all without violence.

Organic farms

First of all we need to know which is the difference between intensive farming and organic farming. The differences are significant from the environmental point of view, but also in the treatment of wool animals and workers who work in this sector:

Organic farms

  • Wool animals live in freedom
  • They feed on organic food
  • Shearing is not violent

Intensive breeding

  • The wool animals live closed in the stables
  • They feed on low quality food
  • Shearing is torture

In intensive breeding the conditions of the animals are very bad. They live in very narrow spaces and many of them will never see the light of the sun during their lifetime, except when they have to walk the road to the slaughterhouse. The goal is simply to raise as many animals as possible to increase income.

Close-up of a sheep from Lana

- organic farms on the other hand, they allow a peaceful life to wool animals, which can live most of their life free in the pastures.

We reiterate that we are against the breeding of wool animals, for whether they are biological or intensive the end of these creatures will be the same. Yet we have to be realistic, farms exist and probably will exist until the end of time, so what would we want if we were in their shoes?

Certainly we would like to live our life in freedom, eat quality food, stay close to our puppies, all without suffering the hell of cages and intensive farming.

The importance of the word "organic" is tremendously underestimated by most people.

La organic certification for farms it includes very strict standards, especially when it comes to nutrition and medicines. We are (or should) all be aware of the antibiotic-filled meat on supermarket shelves.

This is what happens when millions of animals are intensively reared. Stuffed with medicines as a preventative measure, without worrying about what could happen to humanity if all bacteria were to become immune to antibiotics. It is already happening, it is a catastrophe that everyone is aware of, but for which few governments have taken action.

Feed wool animals with biological food it may seem nonsense, avoiding drug abuse may seem superfluous, but only to those who do not have a global vision of things.

We want at least in part consider organic wool as a cruelty free fiber, as it is certainly less cruel than ordinary wool.

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Wool animals

The various types of wool on the market range from soft and silky ones, used above all for clothing, to rough and resistant ones, used to create carpets or thermal insulators. Wool fiber is measured in microns: the smaller the micron, the finer and softer the wool.

Although most of the wool on the market comes from sheep and rabbits, other types of wool are depopulated in other countries of the world. Among wool animals best known we can list:

  • Sheep
  • Capra
  • Alpaca
  • Lama
  • Camel
  • Rabbit
  • dromedario
  • Ox / Yak

Different forms of wool derive from these animals, for example cashmere from a particular breed of goats (hircus), quivut taken from musk oxen, TirolWool from Tyrolean sheep, and so on.

Organic Wool Textile Fiber

The qualities of organic wool fiber they are exciting, and it is one of the few textile fibers for which man is unable to reproduce his characteristics in the laboratory.

It is in fact considered as the transpiring and thermoregulatory fiber par excellence: its ability to expel moisture to the outside is unparalleled (hygroscopy).

GOTS logo

La organic wool it is rare to find on the market, and to be defined organic it must have the certification called cotton Global Organic Textile Standard.

cotton is a label that imposes high standards of quality for the product, environmental sustainability, and ethics social, which includes a "humane" treatment of animals.

We have listed some advantages of the organic certification, but clearly we cannot limit ourselves to the peaceful life of animals and their nutrition: the textile supply chain is very long and the farms are only the tip of a pyramid.

After shearing the wool animals there are a series of fundamental and very damaging steps for the entire ecosystem. Starting with washing, carried out with sulfur and chemical additives then discharged into rivers or seas. Operations such as spinning and weaving, which can cause serious damage to the environment. Without forgetting dyeing, one of the most polluting processes ever.

La organic wool it remains so up to the shelves of the store: the entire supply chain must comply with certain standards, both environmental and social.

There are and will always be exceptions and circumvention of the rules, but this does not mean that we must ignore organic certifications. An organic product will always be a greener product, in any commercial sector.

Features Organic Wool

Fabric Quality: The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.
  breathable
  Thermoregulator
  Anti-microbial
  Waterproof
  Hygroscopic
  Elastic
  Shining
  Soft
  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying
Ecological Characteristics: The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.
  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic   N
  Biological
  No GMOs
  Biodegradable
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  DeTox
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class   B
Textile Certifications:: The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.
Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Oeko-Tex
Bluesign
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Reach
Animal Free
Peta
VeganOK
Fair Wear Foundation
FairTrade

This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it

The versatility of organic wool

While sponsoring the cruelty free fashion, we have always made an exception on the organic wool.

We invite you to reflect on one of the most versatile fibers that nature has made available to us: the money, obviously coming from organic farms.

Woolen artifacts are present in every corner of the planet: from winter sweaters, to the clothing of the Tuareg of the Sahara desert (even NASA uses wool for the clothing of astronauts).

Which other fiber is as capable of satisfying physiological, aesthetic and ecological needs as wool?

Since ancient times, humans have used it fabrics made with wool to protect themselves from the climate. It seems that it was in use as early as 3.000 BC

If we observe this fiber under the microscope, we might seem to see a snake: a series of superimposed scales (protein part) covers the external part. Below this first surface layer, there is instead a structure that makes the fiber strong and resistant.

Wool is able to absorb liquids up to a third of its weight without giving the annoying feeling of wet. This allows it to have a strong thermoregulatory power: in a hot-humid climate, the fiber absorbs sweat and returns it to the external environment while, in a cold climate, the fiber absorbs body moisture by increasing its temperature.

Wool is also water repellent: in fact it absorbs water vapor but not water (due to the difference in size of the two molecules).

The finer the fiber, the more valuable it is. The "top", from this point of view, surprisingly, is the fiber obtained from the Tibetan ox, the yak. Merino wools, which, as we have said, are the most common have fibers of different micronage but the best of all is the 19,5 micron one.

A limitation of articles made of wool lies in their maintenance: if we don't want to transform a sweater into a doll's t-shirt, let's not forget to stay low with the washing temperature and with the movement of the sweater itself.

In fact, the scales that cover the external part of the fiber, with the temperature and the movement, open and fit together with the neighboring fibers (more or less this is the procedure that is carried out to obtain boiled wool, which Tyrolean friends are crazy about. and Bavarians).

Unfortunately, being an animal fiber, the “cruelty free” argument directly involves the production of this fiber. The "Mulesing Free" certificate helps a lot in this regard: it certifies that the animal does not undergo the gruesome skinning treatment of the anal and perianal area.

The same goes for GOTS certification, which certifies the biological origin of the farms and the consequent application of biological standards, which do not allow cruel practices towards animals.

Recycled wool it is certainly to be encouraged: mainly with regard to cashmere. This last fiber, so noble and luxury, is proving not exactly the best in terms of sustainability, due to the desertification caused by the animals themselves. Recycling, on the other hand, has to be considered.

We must note the fact that a lot of wool, unfortunately, is not used (production waste during the production of the yarn is high).

There are several projects in this sense (one of which led a group of students to reuse this waste as an insulator for agricultural land) which should be encouraged as well as the production of organic wool

How should the possibility of recycling fabrics with different compositions in the best possible way be encouraged: the big problem is in fact being able to separate the wool from the other fibers which are often used to reduce the cost of the fabric itself.

Recycling is a problem of all blended fabrics, which we have already addressed in this article.

On this problem, research centers, schools and university laboratories should invest time and resources because possible solutions would allow us to regain a fiber that is being re-evaluated and that has an extremely noble but also plebeian history.

Lana Gentile di Puglia (not organic, but equally sustainable)

It turns out today that Gentile di Puglia wool falls into the category of fine wools, with an adequate length to be spun alone or mixed with other natural fibers to enrich their physical qualities and technical properties.

Perfectly dyeable, “Gentile di Puglia” wool has all the credentials to live one nuova youth: the project of its relaunch is in an initial phase but the potential is very high. Its recovery and its revaluation represent an important opportunity to relaunch entire local communities.

It is good to know that in Italy, today, many sheep are shorn by "shearers" called from Australia (I can already see your faces shocked by this news, but I can assure you that it is true); it is also important to know that it is very difficult to find structures capable of wash the wool after shearing, it is therefore only right to ask: "but then, where does the wool we wear come from, if in Italy there is no longer anyone who washes it?"

The path that is being undertaken has an ancient charm, it has the scent of history, the acrid but "soft" smell of Apulian sheep.

The path that is emerging is tortuous but not utopian and, above all, it opens up important scenarios for future generations, in a sustainable vision of tomorrow's fashion.

Organic wool clothing

Classic sweaters come to mind in organic wool, but also socks, gloves, jackets (especially padding). Someone also produces underwear in organic wool.

THEorganic clothing it is a reality, because more and more fashion brands are aiming for an eco-sustainable production using biological fabrics.

It remains difficult to find organic wool clothing in the shops of our cities, while it is certainly easier to find it online. Our efforts to popularize the concept of sustainable fashion they also serve to encourage more and more merchants, in every Italian city, to integrate ecological products into their shop windows.

Low-cost labor is another aspect to be carefully considered, and it is good to know that organic can mitigate it. This contributes to social exploitation and we can consider it as another form of "pollution" caused by man.

La organic wool it is a guarantee of ethical production, which means that the rights of the workers of the entire textile supply chain (external suppliers included) are respected following the guidelines dictated by the UN.

Buying organic products means telling fashion brands that we are aware ofenvironmental pollution caused by the textile industry, that we are tired of buying products made by exploiting other human beings, and that we want immediate change.

Buy organic wool products

A showcase where you can find Sustainable, ethical and cruelty free fashion brands guaranteed by the supervision of our association:

Illustration of a green dress

Organic or Common Wool?

We are voting clearly for the use of organic wool. We do this to limit the suffering of millions of wool animals, to help workers in this sector, to protect the environment, but also for our personal health: the chemicals present in clothing have been absorbed by our body for decades.

By looking at the labels on our clothing we can easily distinguish organic wool from ordinary wool, both are natural fabrics of animal origin, but the difference is in the production model: a low environmental impact production excludes the presence of toxic substances in our garments, it follows that these may be more suitable for our body.

Benefits of wearing organic clothing

Why Dress in Organic Wool?

Buy organic wool clothing equivalent to dressing bio. It is true that these products cost more, and it is useless to go around them.

Le textile certifications they have a cost, as indeed has a costtextile innovation implemented to make production more sustainable. But limiting ourselves to evaluating only the cost of a product is certainly an understatement, there are many other factors to take into consideration before making our purchases:

  • An ethical choice: we help small local economies, both economically and socially;
  • A Cruelty Free choice: let's think about the health of wool animals even if they are far from our city;
  • A sustainable choice: we love our land and every day that passes we do nothing but make it less livable.

Sustainable fashion is not the fashion of the moment, but the future of fashion: ethics, respect for animals, environmental sustainability, all these elements in a single product.

What else can we do but make an effort to change our shopping habits? The alternative is to ignore the consequences of our actions.

Maintenance of ecological fabrics

How is organic wool washed?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using environmentally friendly detergents.

Wool is a natural fiber that comes from the animal world; the one considered the most valuable is cashmere, originally from Tibetan goats, very soft and warm. To wash organic wool effectively without damaging it, it is advisable to follow a series of recommendations, specific for this type of yarn, which is extremely delicate and has a tendency to fel easily if treated with high temperatures and with the wrong products.

Washing organic wool by hand is the most appropriate operation for this fiber; in fact, although modern washing machines have special programs for wool and delicates, in practice it is almost impossible to keep the fibers intact with the typical movements of the washing machine drum. For this reason, hand washing is the recommended procedure, if the size of the wool products allows it.

Handwash

First, fill a basin with slightly warm water and add, optionally, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or an ecological detergent containing lanolin, a natural component of wool.

At this point, immerse the garment in the basin and, if necessary, add a little cold water. After leaving the garment to soak for about a quarter of an hour, gently massage it with your hands; subsequently, rinse with cold running water, until the foam of the detergent no longer emerges, which in any case must be poured very sparingly.

A very important precaution is to never wring organic wool garments and let them dry on a flat surface by placing them on top of one or more towels, which will be used to absorb excess water.

Machine wash

In the event that it is necessary to perform a washing in the washing machine, even if the program indicates a short spin and limited revolutions, it is advisable to end the cycle before it starts or, if it is a blanket in organic wool, proceed to a short and controlled spin.

Even in this case, it is essential to spread the garments flat, placing them horizontally on a towel, on the drying rack and in an airy room. During the summer, if you want to hang organic wool garments outside, absolutely avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg

FAQ

Do you want more information on Organic Wool? Ask your questions using the form below.

Ask Your Question!

 

Our answers:

Where can I buy organic wool?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Is organic wool cruelty free?

Organic wool cannot be defined as cruelty free (vegan) as it remains a fiber of animal origin, but at least it does not cause violence on animals. Shearing is a fundamental operation for the health of wool animals, but it depends on how it is carried out: usually with violence and intensively on wool animals that live their lives closed in very narrow spaces. This is what happens in intensive farming. Or, thanks to the spread of organic farms, shearing can be done in a non-violent way on wool animals that live their lives freely in the pastures. There is a big difference between these two breeding methods, so even if we could never define cruelty free wool, we can still define organic wool as less violent than the common one.

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