In 1964 a competition was held to design a logo which would visually represent the quality of wool worldwide. Designed to be used globally as one symbol to represent Pure New Wool products at a time when the then ‘new’ man-made fibres were exploding onto the market, graphic artists from across the globe entered this contest, which resulted with one of the world’s most iconic and instantly recognisable symbols.
And so the Woolmark logo was born: five black bands criss-crossing to form a skein of wool, which, since its creation, has been placed on more than 5 billion products worldwide.
For 50 years the Woolmark logo has strived to showcase the extraordinary quality and purity of Pure New Wool products, along with wool’s versatility and innate luxury.
To celebrate the golden jubilee of the Woolmark symbol, British GQ has joined forces with a selection of the world’s most iconic fashion designers, along with hot emerging new talent, to create a 16-page feature (photographed by Dylan Don and styled by British GQ’s Creative Fashion Director Jo Levin) in the September 2014 edition of the magazine.
Showcasing Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Lou Dalton, Kim Jones (Louis Vuitton), Dean and Dan Caten (DSQUARED2), Sir Paul Smith, Kris Van Assche (Dior Homme), John Ray (Alfred Dunhill), Oliver Spencer, Kean Etro and Andreas Kronthaler (Vivienne Westwood), the feature profiles each of these designers, but saves the biggest profile for the designers’ common muse: Merino wool.
GQ also has four prizes from Britain's most inspiring menswear designers to give away in a competition open to all residents of the UK. From Oliver Spencer's traditional Merino grandpa coat to an innovative James Long knit, a Lou Dalton jacket to a timeless Richard Nicoll jumper, these prizes demonstrate the variety of applications we see in modern wool. See www.gq-magazine.co.uk/promotions/woolmark50 for further details.
A precious, noble, natural fibre, Merino wool is loved by designers and consumers right across the world. With superb handle and drape, versatility and crease recovery, Merino wool provides premium clothing in both wovens and knitwear across a wide variety of products.
And as British GQ mentions, thanks to the global Campaign for Wool – championed by none other than HRH the Prince of Wales – wool’s eco-credentials have been brought to light in recent years, with notable publicity for the fibre’s flame resistant and biodegradable properties garnered in recent months after HRH the Prince of Wales hosted an event at Clarence House.
“The Prince is merely pointing out what has been known for 8000 years – that wool is an amazing, extraordinarily adaptable fibre with a wealth of history and natural benefits, qualities that make it the first choice of the world’s great fashion designers,” writes Robert Johnston for British GQ.
“And thanks to its (wool’s) qualities, almost all the designers that British GQ has worked with, featured and photographed for the past 26 years, from Armani to Zegna, have used wool in all its forms to create everything from suits to knitwear, coats to high-performance sportswear and base layers.”
And so, as British GQ continues to illustrate, designers the world over continue to be inspired by one of the world’s finest fibres. They strive for innovative fabrics, and modern cuts from age-old techniques, and they are confident that the versatility, resilience and eco-credentials of wool places them in good hands. But it’s not just any wool which allows them to become masters of their craft, it’s Australian Merino wool and the sheep farmers who have tirelessly worked to achieve the finest quality of wool possible.
“Thanks to this, Australia has become a mecca to the finest designers and tailors from London to Milan and all points in between who come in search of excellence – and, as you can see here, they find it,” says British GQ.
The Woolmark Company, which owns the eminent Woolmark brand and logo, owned by more than 25,000 Australian woolgrowers, markets the use of the finest Merino wool, hot in demand by the world’s best designers. But it’s not only the Paul Smiths and Vivienne Westwoods of the world who know wool’s potential, with emerging talent also embracing the fibre. Added to this, the International Woolmark Prize and designer collaborations – which identify talent in both emerging and established markets – supports young designers, helping them source the finest quality cloth from the world’s most prestigious mills and raise their profile on the international fashion scene.
“Today, more than ever, wool is the mainstay of most designers of the world, as well as the material of choice of the newest kids on the block, and continues to prove that it is as adaptable, beautiful and cutting-edge as the collections it helps create,” says Robert Johnston for British GQ.
Rockers in wool for British GQ’s 25th anniversary