Since the very beginning, wool has been an integral part of our fabric story. From our first technical fleece, designed for warmth and durability, we have always explored and championed the benefits of one of the oldest natural fibres known to man.
We love wool. Not just for the range of applications and properties that make it such a perfect material for clothing, but for the look and feel of the finished product. Chunky woollen jumpers with traditional fisherman knit patterns, conjure romantic maritime images of the men and women who worked these seas.
Taking our inspiration from this history of hardy workwear, worn by the fishermen and miners who worked these coasts before our arrival, is practical as well as aesthetic. They wore these fabrics for a reason; it was the best thing to wear in the wet, wild and windy conditions that they endured every day.
The Bowmont Project
Our quest for a British Merino supply chain started back in 2005. It led us to Lesley Prior, the guardian of the last twenty-eight Bowmont Merino sheep on the planet; a breed capable of producing a fine Merino wool but with the hardiness to survive on these shores.
The Bowmont Project is a unique story that celebrates our love affair with wool, champions local British manufacturing and supply chain, and showcases our commitment to always strive for the best in our products. Exclusive to Finisterre, our Bowmont flock now numbers over 300 providing the pinnacle of our wool offering.
Read the full story on The Broadcast...
A New Chapter in our British Wool story
Working closely with our suppliers, in 2018 we created a range that joined our Bowmont collection as being grown, spun and knitted in Britain; with lambswool sourced from the Bluefaced Leicester, yarn spun in Yorkshire and jumpers knitted in Manchester.
Having everything produced on these shores means less transportation and a smaller footprint on the journey from sheep to shelf.
Wool was the perfect material to handle these tough conditions, because of the inherent properties of the fibre. It has a wide range of properties, but one of the biggest misconception about wool is that ‘wool is wool’…
That’s like saying that a Daschund and a Lurcher are the same because they’re both dogs.
There are over 1000 distinct breeds of sheep, all over the world – some are reared for their meat, some for wool, and some for both. Within the breeds raised for their wool, there is still a huge variety in terms of strength, softness and fineness, so even here it’s important to have the right wool for the right thing.
Different types of wool are measured according to the fibre’s micron count; its diameter and length. Merino, for example, is well known for being extremely soft and very fine, making it perfect for base layers that sit next to your skin. Other wools however will provide a higher micron count, meaning the yarn produced will be weightier, better used for thick jumpers to layer up in winter months.
Behaving naturally in nature
It’s estimated that every year 3.2 million tonnes of primary microplastics (particles that are less than 5mm in size) are released directly into the environment, a major portion of this coming from the shedding of synthetic fibres whilst washing textiles like nylon and polyester.
These microfibres do not biodegrade and wreak havoc on marine environments, finding their way into the food chain and eventually back to our plates. Wool however, is a natural fibre which breaks down harmlessly in the water meaning there is no danger of this.
Wool provides a whole host of practical benefits, as well as environmental. It’s well known for being the fabric that keeps you warm on chilly nights, but it actually does more, regulating temperature and helping to wick moisture away from the body on hotter days.
As well as being breathable it’s also incredibly durable, retaining its shape and form because of the elastic core of the fibre, meaning your wool will stay looking great for longer. The natural oils in the wool also mean that the final product retains antibacterial properties, protecting the fibres against soiling and meaning you can wear them for longer without washing, cutting down on water consumption.
Where our wool comes from is just as important to us as the quality of the material. Our founding commitments to product, environment and people have been bolstered by recently achieving B Corp status, meaning we now have a legal and moral obligation to reach certain standards throughout our supply chain. This includes the sourcing of materials and we only deal with certified farms.
We also only source 100% guaranteed non-mulesed wool. Mulesing is a painful procedure where skin is removed from around the backside of the sheep. In theory, this is done to prevent flystrike, where flies lay their larvae in the wool. In reality however, the procedure is brutal, extremely cruel, and often results in sheep that have been mulesed still suffering from flystrike and enduring a long and painful death.
We love wool. But we also love the sheep who make it. That’s why we’re so selective when choosing partners to work with in our supply chains.