Delano Collection uses organic wool for its popular classically styled coat. The chic silhouette lends itself to many seasons, ensuring the coat a long and useful life. Like organic cotton, the wool industry has created guidelines to ensure farmers use certain methods for farming their sheep. For example, sheep cannot be dipped in pesticides, as is commonly practiced in conventional farming. Additionally, the sheep graze on open farmland that has not been sprayed with synthetic pesticides. Groups like the Organic Trade Association promote alternative approaches to farming, and provide ideas for breeding healthier sheep. Like organic cotton, organic wool is especially recommended for people with chemical sensitivities. Some designers use only natural wool colors, which can range from creamy white to chocolate brown and charcoal gray. These naturally colored fibers save water and keep dyes and finishing chemicals out of the production cycle.
Many companies choose to work with branded labels like the Vermont Organic Fiber Company, suppliers of O-Wool. The company’s strict guidelines ensure designers a high-quality product in a variety of styles and colors, and their certification mark acts as an added value on labels for the finished garments. Since O-Wool maintains all properties of conventional wool, it has the potential to entirely change the farming industry. However, cost of production is still high due to the small market. Like the organic food market, organic fibers are slowly gaining ground – and as demand increases, farmers will make more of an effort to switch to organic– availability in these markets relies largely on the demand of the consumers.
Avita, a Los Angeles-based brand, takes a different approach to wool by recycling pre-consumer cashmere to create modern street wear for young, trend-conscious customers. Owner and designer Amanda Shi learned early on about cashmere’s production cycle; her parents own a knitwear manufacturing company in