Traceable wool from farm to fashion

US brands Wool&Prince and Wool& now source their Merino wool from AJ & PA McBride Ltd’s ‘Ashmore’ property in South Australia, where looking after the long-term health of the land is a priority.

United States-based menswear brand Wool&Prince and its womenswear sister-brand wool& now have a completely traceable Merino wool supply chain that champions the natural fibre’s origin and heritage in Australia.

Wool&Prince was famously launched in 2013 when its founder, Mac Bishop, successfully wore his Merino wool shirt for 100 straight days without washing or ironing, proving the easy-care and versatile nature of the fibre. From a single shirt product, the brand’s range has expanded massively, but high-quality Merino wool is still at its heart. In 2018, its womenswear sister-brand wool& was launched, again with Merino wool as the brand’s foundation.

Pieces across the two brands’ collections now feature Merino wool from AJ & PA McBride whose family have been woolgrowers in South Australia for six generations, and which celebrated its centenary last year – see below.

The traceable Merino wool has been sourced from ‘Ashmore’, located close to Kingston SE on the state’s south-east coastline, which has an annual production of more than 800 Merino wool bales averaging 17.7 micron. Producing high quality Merino wool, the McBride family utilises innovative farming practices to manage their sheep and land. The farm is specifically focused on improving energy efficiencies, land conservation and biodiversity.

SUSTAINABLE WOOL-GROWING

AJ & PA McBride believes quality production is dependent on a healthy environment and the company’s diverse activities are managed with the aim of minimal impact on the environment.

“As a family-owned organisation, we take seriously the responsibility of preserving the environment for future generations and to leave the land and its natural resources in a better state in which they were acquired,” said Keith McBride, Chairman of AJ & PA McBride Ltd, which celebrated its centenary last year.

“Our dedicated staff work hard to ensure that grazing techniques work in partnership with the natural environment. Every day they do simple things to improve their environmental sustainability, whether it be improving efficiency in energy usage, fencing off dams to increase biodiversity, introducing tree-planting programs for re-vegetation and animal welfare, or using different stocking strategies to improve soil health and groundcover.

“In the twenty-first century, sustainability increasingly relies on new technologies and scientific advances and AJ & PA McBride is committed to participating in research and collaborating with government agencies, research organisations and other industry bodies that address natural resource management issues and promote sustainable agriculture.”

As well as being a profitable business and ensuring the long-term health of the land, key to the company’s mission of ensuring it is a good corporate citizen also includes it being an employer of choice (by providing staff with quality conditions and facilities) and an active member of the community (by supporting local towns, community events, community service and agricultural education).

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Apparel from Wool& and Wool&Prince made with Merino wool sourced from ‘Ashmore’ in South Australia.

TRACEABLE SUPPLY CHAIN

Wool&Prince and wool& have worked in partnership with The Woolmark Company to build a long-lasting relationship with the woolgrowers to develop the traceable supply chain. Embracing a ‘less is more’ approach to apparel design, Wool&Prince and wool& have made a commitment to educate the consumer about the origin and impact of every garment created.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Woolmark Company to set up a traceable supply chain that tracks our wool back to the source in Australia. As a brand, we have a responsibility to the land, the people, and the animals that are behind our clothing and it was time to take our customers on this journey,” said Mac Bishop.

In a 12-month journey along the supply chain, Merino wool from ‘Ashmore’ is processed in China, transformed into garments in Korea, and then distributed via the United States to finally make its way to Wool&Prince and wool& customers across the world.

Wool&Prince’s traceable collection includes a range of versatile Merino wool knit tops, polos and sweatshirts, while wool&’s collection includes a range of versatile dresses. Thanks to Merino wool’s natural properties – including odour- and wrinkle-resistance – the garments can be washed less often, reducing their environmental impact.

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