Why icebreaker merino wool?
icebreaker was and still is a merino pioneer. In 1994 we were the first to see the huge potential of this incredible natural material that was not only capable of out performing synthetics and plastics, but was an infinitely better choice for the wellbeing of our planet. The purity of our relationship with nature and our partners is still what differentiates icebreaker as the original and most authentic merino brand.Continue Back
Hand picked - quality control of our fiber
icebreaker merino criteria
We specify maximum and minimum fibre length. This has been customised according to the yarns and products icebreaker produce.
Fibre must be strong. Weak fibre will break during processing and wear, and can cause fabric flaws.
We specify a maximum and minimum fibre diameter to ensure hand feel and softness.
Coefficient of variation
We also specify the maximum variation in fibre diameter to ensure hand feel and softness.
Wool must be very white, with no colour flaws as this would impact on the ability to achieve icebreaker’s colour palette.
VM can be a problem in processing and can also lead to contamination and issues with fabric and color flaws. We specify a maximum VM content (very low).
Dark fibres naturally occur in sheep, but can result in colour and fabric flaws. icebreaker specifies very low dark fibre contamination.
It must be the icebreaker ‘style’ of wool. This relates to crimp and the overall structure of the fleece and fibre, and has been customised to the yarns and products we create.
Absence of flaws
Wool can have all sorts of other flaws, so growers are always on the lookout to remove anything that will impact icebreaker product quality.
The five freedoms of the lambs
Guaranteeing the five key freedoms for our flocks means you can feel happy in the knowledge that the sheep felt just as good making your icebreaker merino as you will wearing it!
Growers ensure that their sheep always have access to clean water and adequate nutrition.
can be sheep
Sheep are free to roam in open pastures, so they can behave naturally with minimal human intervention.
to call home
Growers ensure that their sheep have adequate shade and shelter at all times.
Growers are required to regularly monitor stock, make sure their sheep never experience unnecessary stress or pain, prevent disease and illness, and rapidly diagnose health issues.
Growers must handle sheep in a way that avoids unnecessary stress and pain. The practice of mulesing is not permitted.
Every year, each merino makes 5 icebreaker garments.
A year in the life of the merino
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Sheep are brought to lower country for shearing to relieve them of their heavy winter coats. The ewes are shorn first (before their lambs are born), followed by the hoggets and wethers. Lambing begins.
Merino young and old enjoy warm weather and a plentiful diet. Lambs are weaned from their mothers and drenched (given an oral medication to reduce infection by worms or other parasites). Ewes and wethers are moved to higher country.
Ewes are brought back down to lower country for flushing – providing them with a rich diet prior to mating to positively affect their fertility.
All merino sheep are brought to the most temperate location at lower altitudes where they can get feed supplements and be moved quickly when major storms are predicted.