The wool market has been fighting a losing battle following downward spiralling of demand post infiltration of high-tech fabrics in the outerwear market for many years. In fact, Australia, growers have increasingly chosen to use their land more profitably. A new light on the horizon has risen hopes Australian wool ‘manufacturers’ as new markets have emerged from nascent cocoon that has helped enhance —Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the marketing arm for wool growers — consumer use of wool. New styles such as Adidas AGs Ultra Boost, Allbirds and athleisure lines have helped wool footwear grow in women’s fashion footwear category in Fall 2018. Bayton, Dr. Scholl’s, Seychelles and Timberland are some of the other brands adding wool uppers to their fashion collection.
AWIs monthly ‘Market Intelligence Report’ notes, “Demand has been driving the wool market. More consumers across the world are looking for wool and not just in cooler months. The advent of merino wool as a superior fibre worn next to skin for leisure and for sport has seen steady growth in recent years. Global companies such as Adidas, Nike and New Balance all use merino wool in their ranges now and this is trend can also be seen in outdoor companies such as Mountain Designs and The North Face over the past decade.”
AWI assessed wool continues to defend its traditional markets in men’s suiting and women’s fashion, “a market where wool had lost significant ground in recent decades.” Increased affluence in traditional markets such as China and growing demand for wool in athleisure wear together with limited supply to create a “perfect storm” for wool, says AWI, which represents 24,000 growers in the country that supplies roughly 90 per cent of the world’s apparel wool.