The idea behind Wilderling's Foundation Range of children’s clothing is simple – we hope to offer a year-round range of pieces that are the foundation of a child’s wardrobe. They are those pieces that form the building blocks of every outfit and are the pieces that are closest to the skin – meaning they need to be functional, made from high quality fabrics and be versatile to sit underneath a wide range of outer garments.
As the skin on a human is one of the largest absorbers of substances into the body, it is important that everything that comes into physical contact with it, is non-toxic. Skin comes into contact with many agents both intentionally and unintentionally, so it is especially important for parents of young children to monitor and control this through access to the right information regarding what their child is clothed in, inhales and ingests.
Our solution to this is a range of simply designed garments in our signature merino jersey. The reason for choosing merino fabric is our love affair with, arguably, the most incredible fibre in the world. Wilderling’s origins centre around this fibre, we have always had a huge appreciation for mother nature and through the development of this wonder fibre that is merino wool, we have built a reputation for being leaders in using the fabric to cloth young children.
So what are the benefits of using merino wool in our Foundation Range?
The benefits of merino wool are vast. Unlike traditional wool fabrics, merino is a superfine wool that comes from a breed of sheep known as merino sheep.
The iconic merino ram image above is one of many varieties of merino sheep. To find out more about detail around the origins of merino sheep and their history please see our blog post – here, or visit Merino New Zealand or Wikipedia.
So in a nutshell the main benefits of using merino wool are as follows:
Firesafe – the least flammable of all the fibres. It is the safest fibre to have close to the body as it is self-extinguishing and will not melt or stick to our skin.
Dry/Breathable – like both cotton and bamboo fibres, merino is highly absorbent. This means it can pull moisture away from the skin to the surface of the fabric. The moisture on the surface of the fabric then evaporates and leaves the skin dry. This also means that air and moisture is not trapped between the skin and fabric, and cannot cause over-heating. Such a trait is especially important for babies and young children who cannot regulate their own temperatures.
Easy Care – merino fabrics are all machine washable and dry quickly on the line. They do not need to be ironed as they bounce back to their original shapes once dried.
Anti-Static – merino wool is resistant to static electricity build up. This means it will not cling to the body or give off electrical shocks.
Softness – merino fabrics are exceptionally soft and light-weight, with an almost silk like feel to them. This is the primary reason we use merino wool for our foundation range, as is needs to be soft and sit well against the young skin of babies and children.
Why do we use 18.5 micron merino wool?Merino wool is described in units of microns. Microns or micrometres is the measurement used to express the diameter of a wool fibre. The lower the micron the finer the fibre. This is the most important characteristic, when determining the value of wool. Wool with a lower micron is more expensive than wool with a higher micron. Merino wool is generally less than 24 microns in diameter. Wool higher that that is generally unsuitable for close to skin, garment manufacturing, as it is not soft enough to sit against the skin without irritation.
Strong wool is 23-24.5 microns
Medium wool is 19.6-22.9 microns
Fine wool is 18.6-19.5 microns
Super-fine wool is 15-18.5 microns
Ultra-fine wool is 11.5-15 microns
At Wilderling, we use a superfine merino blend of 18.5 microns. We use 18.5 micron wool due to the trade-off we see as being worth the price/quality and functional aspects that we need our merino wool fabric withstand for our end use. For example, by using 18.5 micron wool, we are using a superfine merino wool that has a soft handle and is non-irritable against the skin. If we were to use a finer micron wool we would have a softer/finer fabric, however the trade of is durability. Because we are making children's wear, we need our merino fabric to be functional, it needs to be able to withstand washing, playing and constant wear. When considering these elements 18.5 microns is the perfect blend of softness, handle and strength for our end use of children’s clothing.
"We see Merino wool as being the best fabric to have close to the skin, and for this reason we use it exclusively throughout our Foundation Range. Being a brand that is based in the mountains of Queenstown, New Zealand, we are used to an extreme climate. Our Foundation Range can be worn in conjunction with a range of outer garments, to create a trans-seasonal wardrobe that gives caregivers peace of mind when it comes to knowing your child will be warm, safe and protected from the elements."
- Victoria (Founder + Director)