Wool. It’s a renewable resource that sees use in a wide range of applications. It magically keeps you warm or cool depending on your needs. But it’s not without its issues. Moths like to eat it. Time tends to wear away at it. It ends up getting holes. For some, a few holes aren’t enough to deter them from wearing it. But for most, it leads to a regretful parting of ways.
Thanks to Netherlands-based Woolfiller leveraging an intriguing lesser known property of wool, cherished garments can live on, sustainably.
Apparently wool fibers have tiny scales that open when they are pricked with a felting needle. The open scales then bind with each other to act as one unit, inseparable even in the wash. A jaunty demonstration video on the home page shows how it works: Turn your clothes inside out, place the included piece of foam underneath the area in need of repair. Choose which color wool you’d like there, then poke at it. A lot. After a few minutes, it’s done.
Woolfiller’s site shows examples of both trying to closely match the surrounding fabric, and purposely contrasting it. I could see this being worn as a badge of eco credibility, in the same way others might want the brand to be obvious to gain prestige among their peers.
Given this repair method is not something uniquely created by Woolfiller, will other companies show up and quickly replicate the product? While not preferable for Woolfiller, having numerous companies with varying approaches generating awareness in the public of such an option, less waste (and cold elbows) will be experienced.
Meanwhile, Woolfiller is smartly leveraging the glue that crafting communities can create, having started a Facebook based Woolfiller Fanclub.
Readers: What other creative, attractive ways to extend clothing life are you seeing out there? In our disposable culture, particularly America, do you see something like this catching on beyond the DIY set? If not, how could it be repackaged in a way that would work?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.