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good news / Sweaters, worse than flying? What's wrong with wool?

For us too, the word wool evokes the sweet sound of bagpipes, a soft blanket in front of a fireplace, the sublime of gray cashmere on a shoulder scented with Eternity and 100 very cute little sheep jumping a fence at the hour sleep. But it's more complicated…

In this article we explain whythe wool sweater“Compatible patina” is complicated to make. Animal mistreatment, heavy carbon emissions from livestock farming, soil erosion, transport-intensive globalized production… Wool is one of the five most polluting textile materials*.

So is wool more polluting than wool?Taylor Swift's private jets? Concretely, what is the problem with wool? We explain to you in a short, quick-to-read and very conscious article!

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1/ Sad pastures: animal abuse (TW)

We don't teach you anything by repeating that wool is a natural material of animal origin most often coming from the coat of sheep. We will not dwell on angora wool coming from very cruel rabbit breeding practices, and therefore excluded for our brand.

Let's focus on sheep's wool: this sheep is shorn to obtain its hair, threads transformed into wool then knitted. Until then why not. The problem is that often industrialization and intensive processes to produce conventional wool in a globalized economy lead to animal abuse.

Even more, the practice of muzzling is one of the most shocking and most denounced: this practice consists of cutting pieces of flesh or skin from sheep so that they do not develop various insects. This method is widely used in the leading wool producing country: Australia.

We'll spare you the images, it's almost unbearable. If the subject is of interest here are two articles fromPeta FranceAndM Magazine Le Monde.

💬More and more brands are committing to sourcing certified museling-free wool, and the Woolmark association is working to find alternatives to this barbaric practice. “Museling free” was a first imperative for the wool of the Patine sweater. But this is not enough.

2/ Damned of the earth

You are becoming more and more informed about the pollution of the denim industry, but often less informed about the pollution generated by the wool business. However, the figures are edifying: for a small standard wool sweater, 40kg of CO2 are released. For comparison, this is the equivalent of 408km traveled with a small car.) In total it is55 kg of CO2which are rejected for its complete manufacture.

A few more figures: a kilo of wool requires 842 liters of water, that is to say 4 bathtubs. Intensive livestock farming causes methane emissions, responsible for the greenhouse effect. Livestock farming also impoverishes the soil. As with cotton growing, the use of pesticides and insecticides is harmful to the health of farmers and destroys biodiversity in soils and rivers. Animal farming inevitably causes soil erosion and destruction of vegetation. Not to mention the toxic chemicals used on the skin of sheep or via injections: insecticides, pesticides. It is then the health of animals, breeders, consumers and ecosystems.

💬 Certified organic wool is supposed to be free of these disruptors and toxic products. Small traditional producers are fighting to make wool with a limited footprint. It was inconceivable for Patine to offer a product from the destruction of our environment. We therefore looked for the most reliable labels, but we came up against the limits of traceability for virgin wool. Because the wool business is now completely globalized.

3/ The Worldwide company, unrivaled carbon emissions

The majority of industrial fashion sweaters are made from wool of Australian, Chinese or New Zealand origin. 80% of Australian wool is exported to China to be cleaned and spun in a huge converter. The wool is then sent to the four corners of the world to be dyed, then elsewhere for the knitting and finishing stage... Short circuits and turtlenecks are almost an oxymoron, far from the idea we have pretty yarn and needles by the fire.

💬 Some brands are rebelling against this globalization and offering local wool, recreating short circuits, and humanity between the different actors in the chain. For Patine, our challenge was to stay close to Europe for the entire cycle of our sweater, from the fiber. Choosing recycled wool avoids the impact of virgin wool. We also chose a high-end partner who recycles wool in Italy. An expensive choice but local, qualitative and significantly lower carbon than the other options!

4/Knitting in Europe is possible!

Take the test and look on the label of your sweaters for the place of manufacture, which must be mentioned. The vast majority of sweaters today are knitted in China. Sometimes in questionable conditions, and sometimes also because the country has equipped itself with the latest industrial innovations and has developed excellent know-how in this category.

💬 We wanted to find a partner in Portugal in order to be able to establish a local collaboration with them, and also to limit the number of km on the odometer of our sweaters. In parallel with our research on the impact of sweaters and in parallel with our tests of the few selected responsible materials, we carried out several collaborative tests until we found the rare pearl. A small knitting unit, based in Portugal, and run by strong women. We are delighted!

And this is how the odyssey of the sublime responsible sweater ends after 4 years...until the next challenge :)

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