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The Wool Lab helps build demand for wool

The Wool Lab is a premier sourcing guide to the world’s best commercially available wool fabrics and yarns. Since its inaugural edition twelve years ago, it has become an important tool for the global textile industry and is helping to build the demand and use of Australian wool globally.

The Wool Lab continues to evolve and go from strength to strength, twelve years on from the launch of the first edition in June 2011 by AWI’s subsidiary The Woolmark Company.

The Wool Lab is a sourcing guide for designers and brands that contains swatches of a selection of the most innovative and quality wool fabrics, yarns and processes commercially available on the market from the best spinners and weavers in the world.

“Each season, we reach out to The Woolmark Company’s global supply chain network – quality-oriented spinners, knitters and weavers across the world – to source their latest fabric developments,” explained AWI General Manager, Processing Innovation and Education Extension, Julie Davies.

“With this, we curate a sourcing guide with a selection of the best textile and yarn swatches, which can then be ordered by designers and buyers directly from the manufacturers through The Wool Lab.

“By providing this service, we are helping to inspire brands’ material strategies and forge strong relationships within the supply chain, thereby increasing the demand for wool.”

Each edition of The Wool Lab contains several themes that reflect the diverse applications that wool can be used in the current textile and fashion landscape to generate business opportunities for the industry.

twl-inline.jpg

Brands and retail buying teams viewing wool swatches in The Wool Lab at The Woolmark Company’s booths at recent trade shows in Europe.

The latest edition of The Wool Lab, which contains swatches for the northern hemisphere’s Autumn/Winter 2024/25 retail season, contains five theme books that reflect some of the growing market opportunities for wool, such as casualisation and activewear.

Broader wools are also taken into account, with the ‘In-Spaces’ theme book including wool fabric swatches for use in traditional interior applications such as blankets and upholstery, through to more innovative interior uses such as room dividers and decorative elements.

The physical editions and swatches of The Wool Lab are promoted to brands and retail buying teams at trade shows and directly in one-on-one viewings. However, anyone (including woolgrowers) can view the digital version of The Wool Lab on the Woolmark website – see box below.


The Wool Lab Digital

The Wool Lab Digital is the online version of the respected wool fabric and yarn sourcing guide. Although the physical editions of The Wool Lab remain popular, The Wool Lab Digital was launched in 2021 by The Woolmark Company in response to the evolving needs of today’s market environment and to extend the sourcing guide’s reach.

While the structure and functionality of The Wool Lab has been adapted digitally, the core of The Wool Lab Digital remains the same, providing a digital showcase of swatches from wool fabric and yarn suppliers, for designers and buyers to browse and source their own samples.

The Wool Lab Digital is freely accessible to fashion and textile industry professionals in a dedicated area of www.woolmark.com. By simply registering (for free), users are able to browse the sourcing guide’s themes and swatches – and choose a selection of wool fabrics and yarns in which they are interested for their upcoming collections.

Through the online platform, they can then contact the suppliers of their favourite swatches, anywhere in the world, to source samples and do business.

More information: www.woolmark.com/the-wool-lab


 

Example swatches from the latest edition of The Wool Lab

The latest edition of The Wool Lab comprises a massive 565 swatches, categorised into a collection of five themes that reflect the diverse applications that wool can be used in the current textile and fashion landscape to generate business opportunities for the industry.

Below are just two example swatches from each of the five themes that illustrate the versatility of wool.

Sport Community

The future of Merino wool performance-wear that pushes the limits of sport in all its interpretations.

(127 swatches)

Sport-community_COVER.jpg

Sport-community-image-SC_96-con-goccia.jpgWashable reinforced wool shell – suitable for outer-layers

Sport-community-image-SC_52.jpgBright orange mesh – suitable for base-layers

Youthformal

For a younger generation, formal attire merges with a more relaxed, casual and modern elegance.

(101 swatches)

Youthformal_02.jpg

Youthformal-image-YF_100.jpgFloating yarn double jacquard – suitable for jackets and coats

Youthformal-image-YF_88.jpgWool/silk jacquard – suitable for jackets and trousers

Casualisation

Today’s formalwear keeps modern comfort in mind while maintaining a casual yet refined elegance.

(95 swatches)

Casualisation_COVER.jpg

Casualisation-image-CF_57.jpgBlack and white bouclé tweed – suitable for jackets and outerwear

Casualisation-image-CF_92.jpgVirgin wool 3D effect pattern – suitable for trosuers

In-Spaces

Merino wool puts its superior natural properties at the service of interiors and human well-being in the home.

(130 swatches)

In-spaces_cover.jpg

In-spaces-image-IS_114.jpgWool jacquard leaf knit – suitable for home accessories

In-spaces-image-IS_67.jpgLambswool Prince of Wales flannel – suitable for upholstery

Accessorise Yourself

Embrace wool to create accessories that showcase craftsmanship and self-expression.

(112 swatches)Accessorise-cover.jpg

 

Accessorise-image-AY_17.jpgLandscape effect jacquard knit – suitable for bags and shoes

Accessorise-image-AY_31.jpgKnitted stripes with inlay lashes – suitable for scarves

 

This article appeared in the September 2023 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.