How is responsible wool farmed and processed?

Stephanie Steele Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Our panel discussion for May brought together two experts who work close to the source of wool fibres and understand exactly what 'responsible wool' really means. Bristol Cloth is a regeneratively and locally produced cloth made in collaboration with enterprises based around Bristol in the South West of England. Fernhill Farm provides the raw materials for Bristol Cloth via Fernhill Fibre, run by farmer Jen Hunter, to help re-educate and re-introduce responsibly produced wool into the market. 

In this conversation, between two responsible wool businesses, you'll hear what makes wool responsible, the process of building local 'fibershed' communities, and whether localism has a place in the fashion market. This live Q&A was aired on Monday 22nd June 2020 as part of our monthly networking events series.

Babs Behan - Bristol Cloth and Botanical Inks

The local and regeneratively produced Bristol Cloth project was managed by Babs, who also founded natural dye business Botanical Inks. Both enterprises champion local production, low impact farming, textile education and building community.

Jen Hunter - Fernhill Farm and Fernhill Fibre

Fernhill Farm is a 160 acre farm, regeneratively managed by Jen and husband since 1997. Through a hybrid of British genetics, Andrew built up a flock of multipurpose sheep breeds that are now clipped for their flock to be used by Fernhill Fibre, embedding value and re-educating on the importance of wool.

Producing nutrient dense pasture-fed meat products, blade shearing and wool harvesting fine fibres in all the native colours whilst regenerating the land using Holistic Planned Grazing principles, Fernhill Fibre’s focus has always been the business to business supply chain.


In this video you'll learn:

  • How wool is responsibly farmed and sourced in the UK
  • About sheep farming and the environmental concerns of a modern-day shepherd
  • How wool fibre is processed into a finished piece
  • How you as a designer and business owner can act upon the issues concerning responsible wool

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  • A guide to wool terms, production processes and specialty animal fibres [Downloadable]

    with Stephanie Steele
    Summary

    Understanding terms associated with wool production from fibre to fabric will help when it comes to working with your producers, sourcing raw materials and finished textiles, and the aspects of manufacture that may require some sustainable and ethical solution updates. Use this glossary to take in the terminology, and build upon your knowledge.

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