Merino wool’s inherit elasticity, plus its natural drape, makes it highly resistant to creasing. In a perfect world, all travel would take place in the luxurious space of business or first class. But even then, long hours spent confined to a chair can cause wrinkles and creases in any other fabric. Suits made using Merino wool will quickly return to their original shape, showing no sign of your trip so you’re ready to go the minute you land.
In his fall winter 2015/16 collection, English designer Paul Smith showcased just how resilient this fibre is. Calling in the help of a troupe of England’s finest Olympian gymnasts, Smith had them perform an array of mind-boggling stunts while wearing his Suit to Travel In – a new constant in the Smith collections designed to withstand even the most intrepid traveller’s adventures.
Another reason suits made from Merino wool are perfect for travelling is their ability to create a microclimate against the wearer’s skin. Merino wool is a reactive fibre, meaning that it can keep the wearer warm or help to cool them down. Tiny pockets of air trapped within Merino’s fibres create a warm barrier against the cold, whereas it’s incredible moisture vapour absorbency helps cool the body down by drawing moisture away of the skin in a rapid evaporation process.
One of the most fascinating features of Merino wool is its ability to self-clean. Merino fibres have a natural protective outer layer that prevents stains from being absorbed. And because Merino tends not to generate static, it attracts less dust and lint.
In a recent campaign entitled An Unsuitable Journey, Australian tailoring brand M.J. Bale put Merino wool to the test by sending one of their models, Tom Bull, on a non-stop worldwide challenge wearing one of their classic suits. The exhaustive trip included 13 cities in nine countries in the space of five days. Jumping from planes to trains, bicycles, tuk tuks and taxis, M.J. Bale’s brave model covered more than 20,000km armed simply with his passport, wallet and the label’s “Seymour” suit in navy blue. While Tom was feeling rather less than fresh by the end of the journey, the suit in comparison was still in the same impeccable condition it was when it left the Sydney store.
Photography Courtesy of Paul Smith | Illustration Barry Allen Patenaude
Working with The Woolmark Company, American designer Thom Browne reinvents the suit with Cool Wool