Sheep protect their bodies with a wonderfully warm and water-repellent coat - wool. Virgin wool, for example, from Merino Sheep, is usually used for clothing. Virgin wool is shorn from the healthy, live sheep, washed, sorted and processed directly into felt fabric (boiled wool) or spun into yarn and then knit or woven.
Wool has a high natural content of fat (lanolin). The less the wool is treated, the higher the water repellency of clothing due to the oils in the wool.
Because each individual hair of wool is hollow inside, the air inside stores heat very efficiently, which is why wool products are often cozy and warm.
Many of our wool products are dyed with an environmentally friendly process - for more information about this here.
Unfortunately, the production of wool sometimes has a darker side:
Many Merino sheep, particularly in Australia, have been bred to have deeply wrinkled skin to increase the wool yield per animal. Moisture gathers in the folds. This attracts flies, which then lay their eggs there. The hatched larvae bore into the skin of the sheep which often leads to infections.
To prevent this, the farmers remove large areas on the sheep without the use of anesthesia, which is associated with pain and inflammation for the sheep. This procedure is called "mulesing". Animal protection groups have criticized this practice for years, and the wool industry is under pressure to finally remedy the situation with legally binding standards.
VAUDE has a clear commitment to only use wool from mulesing-free production. All of our suppliers must confirm this. Unfortunately, we still don't have 100% certainty, since the wool that comes from the farmer to make a VAUDE product goes through the hands of several owners in the various stages of processing.
VAUDE is therefore collaborating on a draft of an international industrial standard for wool that comes from responsibly treated sheep, the Responsible Wool Standard. Our aim is solely to process wool in accordance with this standard as soon as it is applicable in practice.