Wool – The Slow Fashion Take: Is it Sustainable?


Can you beat it?


I absolutely love wool. My family used to grow it on the farm I grew up on and it has always been one of my favourite fabrics. When I was little I raised orphaned lambs and I played in big bins of wool, jumping into it like it was fluffy cloud. Today, I wear it all the time, summer and winter alike. Taking care of it can be a little finicky at times, but once you know how to properly care for your woollens they will last forever. The only question left to ask is are they ethical and sustainable? Is there any downside to wearing wool?

If longevity is anything to go by, it’s clear that wool has stood up to the test of time. It’s one of the oldest fabrics used by humans, indicating that it is one of the most sustainable. The fabric itself has a long lifespan and, thanks to it being somewhat water repellent, it doesn’t need to be washed as often as other commonly used textiles. It’s durable, renewable, biodegradable, flame resistant, and can be grown organically.

As you probably know, wool is grown on sheep, so you may rightfully be concerned for the animal’s welfare in all this. The good news is that, unlike fur or leather, the harvesting of wool does not require the death of the animal. Sheep will continue growing wool for their entire life. The shaving of sheep has no real negative effect on their health or wellbeing at all, if they are not treated too roughly. Wool is the off cuts of a sheep’s hair cut!

Farming sheep obviously has an impact on the environment. But did you know that sheep naturally contribute to the carbon cycle, eating plants with stores of organic carbon. This carbon then makes up 50% of their wool, which in turn makes the fabric recyclable and biodegradable. Just because wool is easily recyclable, doesn’t meant that it is fragile or will deteriorate in your wardrobe. As long as you keep it away from critters such as moths and silverfish, your woollens should last decades.

The only thing you really need to keep an eye out for when buying woollen products is where they come from. There are unfortunately still some farms that practice unethical standards. Luckily, wool is largely organic and traceable now, so finding ethically grown and treated wool is no problem.

Wool ticks all the boxes, it is durable, sustainable, and ethical while also managing to be functional, fashionable, and comfortable. When it comes to slow fashion, wool is the perfect fabric. It contributes to the natural environmental cycles, isn’t harmful to animals or humans to grow, and with some tender love and care, will last you a lifetime.

Does linen beat wool for the most sustainable fabric? Find out here.


Emily is the founder and senior creative of Lux Commune. She grew up in country Australia, where her family raised sheep and cattle, producing wool and beef.  Emily created Lux Commune to share her passion for high-quality design, beautiful raw materials, sustainability and world cultures.

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