News

Cool Wool launches in the Middle East

21 December 2012

The launch of Cool Wool reached a new platform with the consumer media and retail launch into the Middle East held at the Dubai Mall; this followed a fast track to market from the trade launch at Première Vision in February this year.

The initial target is to extend the wool selling season, gaining consumer understanding and experience of the natural performance benefits of Cool Wool in comparison to other fibres normally worn in the hotter months.

Industry responded quickly to the re-launch of Cool Wool, first launched to consumers in the 1980s, and have supported the introduction into the Middle East region through their network of agents and tailors. Point of sale material has been distributed via this network to ensure consumers can associate the media campaign with fabrics they purchase from bespoke tailors for their suits and dish dash. Dunhill provided Cool Wool garments for display which allowed a point of purchase for ready to wear pieces. The Woolmark Company is in discussion with a wide number of tailors and retailers who will join the Cool Wool program over the coming months.

Research has shown that wool performs better than cotton and polyester in the natural management of moisture and temperature, ensuring that Cool Wool makes the wearer feel less clammy and cooler. Wool breathes, absorbing and releasing up to 35 per cent of moisture vapour, naturally contributing to balancing the micro-climate of the human body by taking up and transporting the sweat and corresponding body heat formed during effort/exercise. Nylon or Polyester fibres cannot perform in this way as the material has far less ability to absorb water, quickly becoming wet when meeting the body sweat.

The retail event was used as a platform to showcase Cool Wool fabrics and to educate consumers on wool’s natural performance attributes and properties. Consumers visiting the stand in Dubai Mall were intrigued that wool did not crease when crushed or crumpled, and found the lightness and softness of the fabrics different to what they imagined wool to represent. The event featured models wearing the tailored suit and dish dash using identical fabric that were used in the filming of the campaign, and working tailors who demonstrated the craftsmanship involved in tailored garment manufacture, whether it be a suit or dish dash.

A competition was arranged over the two days to win a bespoke garment of choice; the winner has chosen to have a bespoke dish dash tailored in a fabric of his choice from the Cool Wool weavers Guild. The winner commented, “I was amazed at the softness and lightness of the Cool Wool fabrics on display; the fabrics didn’t crease which is important when you want to look good all day long. I was not aware wool could be so light and keep you cool, and has so many natural properties that allow it to be Cool Wool, I am pleased to have won the competition and look forward to wearing my Cool Wool dish dash.”

The Cool Wool Weavers supporting the program in the Middle East and globally are:
Alfred Brown, Dormeuil, Hield Brothers, Bower Roebuck, Charles Clayton, Bulmer & Lumb Group, Holland & Sherry, Ipekis, Yunsa, REDA, William Halstead, Savile Clifford, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Joseph H Clissold, Fratelli Tallia Di Delfino, John Foster, Johnstons of Elgin.

It is anticipated that a number of other weavers will join the program and present fabrics at Première Vision, Paris on February 13 to widen the global availability of Cool Wool fabrics and garments for consumers.

Rob Langtry, The Woolmark Company’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer said, "It is very pleasing to see growth in the tailoring market for National and Western dress returning to the United Arab Emirates at a time when many are seeking assurances about the origin and provenance of premium priced fashion. Custom and personal tailoring allows discerning consumers a far greater choice in the essential part of a garment: the fabric.

“Lighter weight fabrics in the Cool Wool collections of Europe's leading weavers offer a superb alternative to less eco-friendly fibres often chosen for the warmer months in the Gulf. Cool Wool for dish dash or formal suits and jackets has proven thermal management qualities superior for next to skin comfort to other fibres traditionally selected for spring and summer."

The consumer media campaign also launched at the weekend and will run under The Woolmark Company’s Cool Wool brand with a message of ‘When it’s hot, it’s not’. The campaign will run December through to February in the following media, and outdoor at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 over the coming weeks:

Print
Saudi market – Newspapers
UAE market – Newspapers
Kuwait market – Newspapers
Pan Arab Magazines

Online
Saudi market:
Sabq.org
Kooora.com
Maktoob.com
Kuwait market:
MSNarabia.com
UAE market:
Emaratalyoum.com

This program is the lead in the global launch of Cool Wool, a consumer media program targeted to mens and womenswear. Different visuals appropriate to these markets will launch in Spring 2013 print titles and online media.

Notes to Editors:

Cool Wool – the science behind the benefits of wearing wool in warmer months

While all textile fibres are able to absorb and later release (‘desorb’) moisture from the air around them as the humidity of the air changes, only wool can absorb up to 35% of its dry weight in moisture vapour, more than any comparative textile fibre1. For example, the comparable saturation water content of cotton is 24%, nylon (polyamide) 7%, and polyester 1%.2

The following chart shows the humidity: fibre moisture content (regain) relationships, adapted from Morton and Hearle (1975).

This unique ability to take up and release moisture vapour reflects the complex molecular structure of the wool fibre, and is the basis of wool's excellent moisture buffering characteristics – where wool clothing near the skin absorbs excess skin moisture as the humidity between fabric and skin increases, and releases it as the humidity falls.

The impact on the wearer can be seen in the following data, where skin temperature and moisture content was closely monitored for an adult female participant in the recent research of Stanton and others3.  In this trial, subjects undertook a 4-stage exercise program at a wide range of temperature and humidity, wearing equivalent weight cotton and Merino wool T-shirts.  The wool garment allowed the skin surface to be maintained in the 30-50% range, even when exercising at 39oC, where the equivalent cotton T-shirt became saturated.

The moisture content of the air between skin and fabric can affect skin health.  This is because ability of the human skin surface to maintain normative moisture content of 30-50%4 in its upper layers is critical – since the moisture content of these layers affect the skin function as a protective barrier against pathogens, UV rays, and foreign chemicals5.  Indeed, prolonged exposure to extremes of humidity (too dry or too wet), or even sudden shifts in humidity, can affect the skin barrier function.

The ability of fabric to buffer skin moisture becomes critical at elevated temperatures, since elevated skin temperatures stimulate release of sweat   A recent validation of the impact of fibre selection on wearer skin temperature was produced by DWI in Aachen Germany, where research subjects wore vests made of alternate halves of pure wool and polyester suiting material, which exposed to varying intensity of exercise and wind speed6.

The following images show:

(a) the subject's back without vest, at the start of the trial
(b and c) show the heat reflected by the vest at start and finish, and
(d) shows the heat produced by the skin following removal of the vest. In (d), you can see that the wool (right) has kept the skin surface much cooler than the polyester (left).

The DWI scientists concluded that:

  1. “….In terms of comfort in wearing the suit, the wool fabrics play the role of the buffer, preserving the microclimate of the body for a while until the moisture exchange reaches the equilibrium, whilst the polyester fabrics are not able to provide the same shielding effect...", and that;
  2. “…PES fabric does not help dissipating the heat during effort, acting differently to wool made suit.”

1 Morton, W.E., and Hearle, J.W.S. (1975), “Physical properties of textile fibres”, The Textile Institute, Manchester, UK, page 169.
2 Ibid, p169.  Also summarized by CSIRO, at http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/Food-and-Agriculture/WoolMoistureBuffering.aspx (accessed 17/12/12)
3 Stanton, J.H. (2009), Including the consumer in garment quality evaluation", In: Natural fibres in Australasia: Proceedings of the combined (NZ and AUS) conference of The Textile Institute, Dunedin, NZ, 15-17 April 2009, C.A. Wilson and R.M. Laing (Editors).  Individual participant data courtesy of the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre Inc.
4 Nakagawa, N., Matsumoto, M., and Sakai, S. (2009), “In vivo measurement of the water content in the dermis by confocal Raman spectroscopy”, Skin Research and Technology, 16: 137-141.
5 Elias, P.M. (2007), “The skin barrier as an innate immune element”, In: Seminars in Immunopathology, 29:3-14
6 Popescu, C., (2012), “Comfort in textiles: wool suits versus PES suits”, DWI an der RWTH Aachen, e.V., 81st IWTO Congress, New York, USA, May 2012.