Wool: The Miracle Fiber

Man's best friend has a longstanding rival. Since the Stone Age, we've been domesticating sheep and draping ourselves, our homes, and our horses in wool. It's properties remain unrivaled, even up against modern advances. But like any natural resource, the way it's procured makes all the difference. Let's break from herd mentality and shine some light on nature's miracle fiber!
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Wool is a protein fiber obtained by shearing fluffy animals like sheep, goats, alpacas, camels, yaks and rabbits. The hair is then knitted or woven into the familiar textiles - most commonly used for sweaters, socks, scarves, suiting, coats, hats, blankets, upholstery and carpets - as well as insulation, sound proofing, mulching, saddles, tennis balls and pool tables. One of the most versatile materials known to man, the natural properties of wool are unparalleled...
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 - Antibacterial & antimicrobial
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- Allergen-free. "Wool allergy" is a myth. If wool feels itchy to you, it's not because you're allergic, it's that you're unaccustomed to the wide fiber diameter. Try a finer fiber like Merino. 
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- Wicking & body temperature regulating. Despite popular belief, wool is great for all seasons!
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- Stain & odor resistant
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- Water repellant
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- Flame resistant & self-extinguishing
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- UV protective
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- Elastic & resilient. Super strong, sag resistant, and retains shape.
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- Low-maintenance - rarely needs cleaning.
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- Renewable & biodegradable
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- Requires little processing & dyes easily
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It's no wonder astronauts, soldiers and firefighters wear it!
Most of the technical properties engineered into synthetic materials are just borrowed from wool. And while synthetic fabrics may be animal-free, they are far from harm free. Sometimes marketed as "vegan," fabrics like polyester, nylon and acrylic are essentially plastic. Manmade by a chemical process, plastics take millennia to biodegrade, releasing toxins, devastating habitats, killing wildlife, and contaminating the entire food chain, all the way back to us. If we'd been using synethic fabrics for as long as we've been using wool, we'd all be living in a landfill.
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Wool, unlike leather, is vegetarian (with the exception of shearling, or sheepskin). Sheep have been bred for centuries to product wool and must be shorn annually for their own welfare, making it a symbiotic relationship and probably the least cruel thing to happen in animal agriculture. You may have seen graphic PETA ads depicting naked, mutilated sheep, which while bringing awareness to the animal welfare side of production, has vilified wool.
Truthfully, most shearers are skilled and complete the task in two minutes without a cut or nick. Just as in the massive operations behind mainstream milk and egg production, sheep are certainly subject to disturbing methods and treatment in the procuring of their coveted wool. And just as there are farmers who make humane, ethical and sustainable practices a top priority, so are there in wool.
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It becomes consumer choice in which to invest - the byproduct may look the same, but the origin can vary greatly. 
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Wool pieces are a legacy - you'll love them for a lifetime and pass them down to the next generation! Before you invest in your next woolen item, connect with the origin of the wool. Responsible brands are usually transparent. Look for terms like "organic," "responsibly raised," and "free range." 
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Sustainability is widely defined. Part of my interpretation includes responsibly-sourced, organic and biodegradable materials. All animal agriculture is still labor & resource intensive, and a product of animal life, so the "less, but better" approach, along with choosing responsible alternatives, is still most sustainable! 
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The root of the word "materialism" is "mater," or mother. It's not so much about rejecting the material world as it is redefining our relationship to it, to our collective mother. The solution is always within the problem. The growth is always through the obstacle!
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Shop Organic, Domestic & Responsibly Raised Wool Styles Here:
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