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.
Merino is the name given to a particular breed of sheep. The differences between merino sheep and other varieties are the signature long, fine wool that is produced resembling cashmere. Merino sheep are farmed throughout New Zealand, mostly in the high country stations of the South Island. They are an incredibly tough breed of sheep, able to withstand adverse weather conditions typical of the mountainous high country. Because of this, merino fibres are built for the extremes – breathable in summer and insulating in winter. They, like bamboo and cotton, are exceptionally soft yet light in weight.
We love merino wool, largely because nature has done all of the testing. Merino sheep in New Zealand have to be able to live in extreme temperatures of up to 30oc in summer and down to -20oC in winter. If their woollen fleece could not allow breathability and protection during these extremes, then they would die. Being able to utilise these superior characteristics and create merino wool fabrics, is a testament to modern technology and research.
We also love Merino as it is a renewable resource, just like bamboo. Sheep are shorn to remove their thick winter fleeces, and just like human hair, wool regenerates and grows back over time. New Zealand Merino sheep live in the mountainous Southern Alps surrounded by land, vegetation and the natural elements. The wool is then shorn, transported to factories in the North Island and manufactured into knit fabric which we purchase and make into Wilderling products just for you.
The fineness grade of the Merino fibre dictates quality. Our Merino at Wilderling is approximately 18.5 microns. A micron is a unit of measurement used to describe the fineness of a wool fibre. The lower the micron, the finer the fibre. It also dictates price, durability and supply.
Luxury/high-end/ultra-soft wool, yet extremely delicate and limited supply. Used in luxury garments such as Italian suiting.
High-end/super-soft wool, yet more durable and moderate supply. Used in high-end children's clothing or base layer garments.
19.5 -22+ microns
Mid-range, soft, and durable wool with good supply. Used in adults clothing.
The least flammable of all the fibres, it is the safest to have close to the body as it self-extinguishes and will not melt or stick to the skin.
Like both cotton and bamboo fibres, merino wool is highly absorbent. It can also pull moisture away from the skin to the surface of the fabric. This moisture then evaporates keeping the skin dry and deodorised.
Merino wool fabrics are machine washable and dry quickly on the line. They do not need to be ironed as they bounce back in their original shape once dry.
Merino wool is resistant to static electricity build up. This means it will not cling to the body or give off any electrical shocks.
Merino wool fabrics are exceptionally soft and fine. The merino fabric we use is 18.5 microns. It is extremely soft and light-weight, having an almost silk like handle. Perfect as a base layer against delicate skin.
Bamboo is part of the grass family and grows naturally in nature. It is the hollow jointed stem of the bamboo grass that is manufactured into not only fabric, but building materials, food and versatile raw products. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world due to its rhizome-dependent system. Some species of bamboo can grow up to 91cm in a 24-hour period. So when it is cultivated for textile production it is cut off at the base and will continue to generate new stems from the original plant, just like when you mow your lawns.
Bamboo is also a critical element in the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as the fasted growing canopy for the re-greening of degraded land areas generating more oxygen that an equivalent stand of trees.
To top it all off, Bamboo is also naturally pest and disease resistant, so requires few or no chemical inputs when farmed. It also has a small water footprint with minimal irrigation requirements.
The bamboo fabric that we use is manufactured using a patented Tanboocell bamboo viscose process, which ensures that the bamboo fibres boast superior qualities such as exceptional moisture absorption, breathability, softness as well as anti-bacterial and deodorisation abilities. The bamboo fibre is also left unbleached during the manufacturing process.
We believe that Bamboo fabrics are not only kind to your body due to their softness and natural purity, but are also kind to the environment. All of our bamboo fabric is mixed with organic cotton fibres to increase durability and functionality.
Cotton is a soft, fluffy cellulose fibre that grows in a boll around the seeds of cotton plants. Cotton is one of the oldest fibres to be cultivated for textile products, dating back to around 5000 B.C. It is currently the most widely used natural fibre in the world. Such wide uses can be attributed to the fibres soft handle, good absorbency, colour retention and strength. It is also machine washable, easy care and like Bamboo, has good moisture wicking properties to keep skin dry.
We love Cotton fabrics at Baby by Victoria because they are soft, absorbent and gentle on a baby’s skin. When babies are born, cotton blankets are generally recommended by doctors as receiving blankets and clothing. At Wilderling, we only use 100% cotton fabric for the fronts of our bibs and then a blend of organic cotton and bamboo for the towel backing. Because bibs need to be functional as well as beautiful, the combination of both cotton and bamboo fibres offer the best in absorbency and durability. This is important as we all know how much use and laundering a bib needs to be able to withstand.