Published on 20/05/19
Light, warm and breathable, wool is one of the most versatile fibres used in apparel. It’s also the most reused and recycled major apparel fibre on the planet, making wool a sustainable choice for clothing. With Wool Week celebrating the very best wool and wool-rich apparel from 20-26 May, it’s the perfect time to spotlight some of our ECA-accredited manufacturers who are using this fibre. Woolerina is the first of our three manufacturers embracing wool.
Small family business Woolerina prides itself on its commitment to classic styling and an ethical product right along the supply chain, from the fair treatment of the sheep that produce the wool to the workers who produce the finished garments.
Woolerina’s founder Warwick Rolfe knows all about wool, with nearly 40 years in the business and earlier roles as a wool buyer and broker. Launched in 2005, Woolerina was the culmination of a long-held dream to take the best wool from the paddock and turn it into a quality finished garment.
“Most of our products are 100 percent wool. It is a big deal to us that our sheep are treated well. People love knowing where the wool from their garment came from. We source all the wool directly from farmers and follow it right through the production line and processing to the finished garment,” says Warwick’s daughter Penny Rout, who joined as Administrative Manager in 2009.
“We select wool to a very tight set of specifications so that it’ll meet our needs, be highly comfortable and soft, and be durable as well.”
The wool is knitted and dyed in Melbourne and then the rolls of fabric are brought back to Woolerina’s base in Forbes in central-west New South Wales, where the cutting and about one third of the sewing is done.
“The slow fashion part of things is about being hands-on, but also about producing something that is really great quality which means that it will last for longer so there’s not a need for people to have lots of them or replace them often.”
Woolerina believes that the fashion industry should value its people, creativity and profit in equal measure, and has been an ECA-accredited manufacturer since 2013. This ensures that their workers’ rights are protected, and that they are receiving the Award rates and entitlements and working in safe conditions.
“We have found ECA a useful marketing tool in targeting conscious consumers – those that are interested in where their clothes came from and who made them, along with knowing that we provide good conditions for those who work for us,” says Penny.
“Our workers appreciate our accreditation with ECA. It makes them feel safe in their jobs, knowing that we care enough about them to provide a safe work place, that we’ll always pay them an award wage and that we’re happy to share this with the world through the ECA accreditation process.”
Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) is a proud supporter of Wool Week 2019, being held from May 20-26 in Melbourne.
Further information about tickets, events and speakers is available online at woolmark.com or on Facebook.