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Textile, clothing and footwear stories

Itch-free wool has users Smitten

Smitten Merino designs and manufactures world-class, modern clothing that is warm and attractive and can also be functional enough to be worn in Antarctic conditions.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is a customer.

Operators Nicola and Carl Mason saw a niche opportunity in 2007.

CSIRO was testing a Comfort Meter to grade fabric by measuring the number of stiff fibres protruding from its surface.

It’s these stiff fibres that make traditionally woven wool an itchy fabric to wear against the skin.

Now, the Comfort Meter has made it possible to test and perfect wool fabric so it is not only comfortable to wear against the skin, but out-performs most other textiles.

Mrs Mason first designed a woman’s fashion range, including dresses, tops, cardigans, leggings, yoga pants and jackets.

These lightweight woollen classics were designed to be worn in layers, so women could look good and stay warm in winter, without having to take on a bulky profile.

Mr Mason, a lover of the outdoors, suggested the project be extended to a unisex outdoor range. The Masons enlisted a team of high-profile adventurers to test their clothing in extreme conditions.

Australian adventurer Pat Farmer ran in Smitten Merino thermals from the North Pole to the South Pole, completing two marathons a day every day in a feat his supporters regard as history’s greatest endurance achievement.

Eric Phillips, the only person to have skied unassisted across the world’s four major ice shelves, has worn Smitten Merino in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Smitten Merino outdoor clothing is spun from super-fine merino wool sourced from Tasmanian and other premium Australian wool-growing regions. All products are designed and made in Tasmania.

The range is made in numerous weights and consists of leggings, long-sleeve crew tops, zip-neck tops with thumb holes, beanies, wool fleece jackets, pants and other items.

Smitten Merino thermals are now worn by Tasmanian Police Search and Rescue, as well as the AAD.

“Smitten Merino wool is luxurious, super-soft and lightweight,” Mrs Mason said. “Our thermals are famous for their great cut and comfort.

“The fabric wicks away moisture, is low-odour, warm when wet, breathable, fast-drying and machine washable. Skin contact with the superfine wool fabric does not cause itch or scratch.”

Smitten Merino’s manufacturing procedure incorporates stringent quality control.

It is the first Australian company to be fully endorsed by Australian Wool Innovation and has won best exhibitor at Australia’s biggest Wool Show.

11 May 2013

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