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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  • Responsible Non-Woven Textiles For The Mass Fashion Market with Doppelhaus

    with Martin Brambley

    Martin Brambley and Yolanda Leask talk to us about the incredible sustainable fabrics they have developed. London/Berlin-­based company, Doppelhaus, produce ethically sourced British wool textiles using non-woven technology. The entire process requires fewer steps, no additives and less water than conventional wool fabrics. Our favourite part? They can tell you the names of the sheep that provided the wool. By presenting natural coloured felt-like fabrics printed with pastel colours and metallic foil patterns, the company has carved out a space for non­-woven textiles with fashion­-focussed aesthetics.

    We first aired this live Q&A on 6th October 2017 as the company were setting off on their journey. They have since partnered with the BFTT for a research fellow to push the innovation and marketing for their product. The Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology grant is a five-year industry-led project, which focusses on delivering innovation within the entire fashion and textile supply chain. Through this project, Doppelhaus Ltd can realise their huge ambition to create a sustainable, local and affordable nonwoven material for mass-market fashion made in the UK, from fibre to advertising.