At Icebug, we only use wool with guaranteed concern about animal welfare
Though wool is derived from a renewable resource (sheep), it does not mean that wool has zero environmental impact. Sheep need a large amount of land to graze on, and the production of wool also requires water, chemicals, and energy to become a material that can be used in a final commercial product.
At Icebug, we only use wool with guaranteed concern about animal welfare. The Woolpower material is made of mulesing-free wool from South American sheep. Mulesing is a cruel treatment where skin is carved from the sheep to avoid maggot infestation. Our wool padding is made of Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified wool, sourced from New Zealand.
The wool in the Woolpower material is also recycled wool, to reduce water consumption, energy use, and the land needed for sheep grazing. Using recycled wool also minimizes the pollution of air, water, and soil as well as reducing CO2 emissions compared to virgin wool. We use the wool with the color that it already has from its first lifecycle, thus avoiding the need to add dying chemicals. This is why our recycled wool has some mixed colors, which gives it unique aesthetics.
For our recycled wool, we collaborate with the Swedish clothing company Woolpower whose factory and production are in Östersund, Sweden. Instead of discarding the scrap material from their production, it is collected and needle-felted, thereby upcycling the wool, giving it a second lifecycle. It is mixed with synthetics, but it is always a minimum of 50% wool content. From a sustainability point of view, there is a downside to mix naturals and synthetics, but we still see great benefit in upcycling materials that would otherwise be discarded, to give it a new value. The reason why Woolpower adds synthetics with wool is to increase the durability so that it can be used longer and in harder conditions. Because after all, the best thing from a sustainability point of view is to use the products that we consume for as long as possible. Products with this felted wool have been available in the Fall/Winter Collection since FW19.
Another great benefit of wool is the excellent material properties it provides. It has great insulation qualities and wicking capabilities, meaning the fabric easily wicks moisture away from the body. It also has natural anti-odor qualities. It is a great material to use for active days in the outdoors.