We love wool here at Fjällräven.
It’s arguably one of nature’s most functional materials. And you’re most likely aware of its ability to keep you warm by trapping air between its fibres. But did you know that, strictly speaking, wool isn’t an insulator? It’s a heat regulator. This is because it can help you keep your cool as well as keep you warm and cosy. Wool wicks away moisture from your body. And when it does so, it takes odours with it. So even though you may spend all day trekking and working up a sweat, your wool clothing will hardly smell at all.
Finally, because of the structure of the fibres, wool keeps you warm even when it’s damp. And depending on the size of the fibres, wool clothing can be really thin, not to mention durable and comfortable.We use lots of different types of wool, including spill or surplus wool from our suppliers in Italy and wool sourced from sheep in Sweden. This is all to reduce our environmental impact.
How does wool work?
Wool’s ability to regulate your body temperature boils down to its capacity to hold and release water. Wool can absorb around a third of its own weight in water before it feels damp. The wool fibres can, when heat is being released, wick away moisture helping to keep you cool (and odour free). The wool fibres also trap warmth, as the heat from the body decreases.
Different animals produce distinct types of wool. Merino is a very fine, soft wool ideal for base layers. Regular sheep’s wool comes in a variety of thicknesses depending on the breed it’s from, but it’s generally thicker and really durable. Lamb’s wool is somewhere in between. The insulating capacity of all wool can vary depending on the knitting technique used. You can read more about the different wools we work with below.
Although we try to minimise waste and spill material, we can’t avoid it entirely. But with Re-Wool we’re using surplus wool to make brand new products. Using traditional Italian craftsmanship, the recycled wool is colour-sorted, shredded then blended with other colours to get a unique nuance. Finally, we mix the yarn with polyester or polyamide for extra strength. This process not only minimises waste. It also means less virgin wool is required to make our wool sweaters and shirts. Using leftover wool sounds like a no brainer. But it wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
Two and a half years in the making, the first sweaters from our Swedish Wool project were available to buy in November 2017. Instigated to see if we could make wool sweaters in Sweden with Swedish wool, the project shed light on more than just the challenges of wool traceability. We’ve learned more about wool quality, holistic farming benefits and craftsmanship than we thought possible. And we’re taking what we’ve learned and transferring it to our global wool supply chain.
Our Swedish wool comes from Jämtlandsfår, a Swedish breed adapted to the cool, challenging climate of central Sweden. The wool is incredibly fine, lustrous and, like all wool, resists dirt and odour, and regulates body temperature. The sheep are raised at Brattlandsgården, a holistic management farm just outside Åre in the Swedish mountains. The untreated wool is spun and the products are knitted right here in Sweden.
Our Swedish Wool project is something we’re pretty proud of.