Disruption is happening whether we like it or not, says Dave Maslen, NZ Merino general manager for markets and sustainability.
M&S is one of the first major clothing retailers to launch a menswear range with wool certified under the global Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). The range contains men’s blazers and waistcoats made of NZ lambswool grown by RWS-accredited WNZ growers.
“This is wool in the 28-31 micron range, more traditionally used in the production of interior textiles. It’s a big step for crossbred wool and it’s tremendously exciting to see our wool moving into high-end attire,” says Mazey.
“It also validates our ongoing investment in the technologies and assurance programmes that allowed this to happen.”
Steven Parsons, brand and business development manager for Wools of New Zealand in the UK, says the RWS was imagined and developed in 2016 as the global standard for growing wool.
“Wools of New Zealand has joined a rapidly growing number of international brands and the Textile Exchange as strong advocates for RWS as a global wool production standard, providing an assurance to consumers that the wool they are buying has been grown to the highest possible standards of farm management and animal welfare.
“M&S represents a powerful partner in that respect, as they are able to influence the value chain and change attitudes towards fibre production. There is a new reality out there for producers and retailers: they need to be responsible for driving supply chains towards true sustainability.”
Mazey says 14 grower shareholders are now accredited under the RWS, in North and South Islands. “Through the launch of this new product we anticipate increased interest in our wool and RWS credentials. We expect more of our growers to become RWS-certified as market demand builds.”
Meanwhile, Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) has announced a new US distribution partnership with J Mish.
Under the agreement, leading carpet business J Mish will design and manufacture carpets and rugs from yarn grown and spun in NZ. The products will then be distributed throughout the US via J Mish’s large network of dealer and designer relationships.
Colin McKenzie, chief executive of CP Wool, says the partnership will build on an existing relationship to increase the profile of New Zealand wool in the residential market in the US.
“We’re confident that J Mish has the reputation, resources and scale needed to put NZ wool carpet in front of consumers across the US, as a highly desirable and sustainable choice for soft flooring.”