Wilderling is committed to being open and transparent about our supply chain. We ask questions and continue to learn about where our fabrics come from, what impact our production has on the environment and the welfare of those who design and make our clothing. It is a continuous process, and we welcome your feedback as we embark on this journey.
We are proud to use natural fibres in all our designs, and work closely with trusted fabric wholesalers throughout New Zealand to source our fabrics. Synthetic fibres are only used when necessary, to ensure the integrity of a fabric. Currently we have no synthetic fibres in our Autumn | Winter 2022 collection.
As a trained textile scientist, our founder Victoria has the knowledge and understanding of the properties and characteristics of textiles. This is essential when researching and designing garments that are truly suitable for their intended purpose. Much care and time is taken during our development and testing stages, to ensure the fabrics we choose are of a high quality, and have the right performance properties for the end use.
"We want children to be able to move, play and not be restricted by their clothing. We also want them to be protected from the elements during all seasons and have fabrics close to their skin that allow for breathability so they do not overheat. Being able to be washed regularly is also a key consideration when designing baby and children's wear. And at our core, we always look for the highest quality in fabrics, ensuring they are durable and have the softest finish to be able to be worn time and time again." - Victoria
Why use natural fabrics?
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.
We have always had a love affair with merino wool fabrics and it was the reason Wilderling was created back in 2016. There is just something about the fibre and its origins that speaks of heritage and a connection to the land. All our merino wool for our Foundation Ranges is certified ZQ Premium Merino Wool.
Where does Wool come from?
Wool comes from the fleece or hair of an animal called a sheep. Their fleeces are shorn (like a hair cut) seasonally and it is this fibre that is cleaned and spun/carded into the yarn used to knit/weave woollen fabrics.
What is Merino Wool?
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.
The Merino Wool We Use: ZQ Certified
"Sustainable. Ethical and Traceable. The world's leading wool brand."
Our sheep are part of a wool certification that believes in the welfare of the animals and a better quality of life. The standard is called ZQ Merino Fibre and all our merino we use at Wilderling is certified by this standard. We believe in putting our best foot forward in making a difference in the textile industry, and therefore stand by this wool certification which gives us peace of mind that the animals, whose beautiful fleece we use to create our clothing, are well looked after and live a life free from stress, harm and disease.
It also means our merino wool fabric is consistent in fibre quality, traceable to the farm of origin, meets environmental sustainability targets and adheres to strict animal welfare and social responsibilities for the farmers.
To find out more about ZQ Merino fabric, please jump on their website: Discover ZQ
Shop our Merino Foundation Range here.
To find out more about the RWS certification, please go to their website here: Responsible Wool Standard
How does knitwear differ from regular merino garments?
Knitwear at Wilderling has been created on a flat bed knitting machine. It uses merino yarn, fed into the machine and moved across the surface to create knitted together loops. Our Heirloom blankets have been created this way and as such come out fully fashioned and have almost zero waste.
Shop our Heirloom Blanket here.
We use cotton fibres in our capsule collection, often cotton is blended with other natural fibres such as bamboo and linen to add durability and softness.
Where does cotton come from?
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.
As part of our ongoing commitment to know more about where our fabrics have come from we are constantly researching and looking into better sources of cotton fabrics. Ideally with certifications to prove their origins and adhere to regulations around environmental impacts and social responsibility.
Our range of Dribble Bibs includes this wonder fabric as their backing fabric. Our organic cotton and bamboo terry cloth, has been a fabric we have used since 2016 when we started and is one of the reasons why our customers love our bibs so much.
Where does Bamboo come from?
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 we use: Bambu Dru
Our fabric we use as the backing on all our bibs and also for the storage bags that come with our Merino Thermal Sets is certified Bambu Dru fabrics.
Shop our range of organic cotton and bamboo Bibs here.
The bamboo viscose use in all Bambu Dru products is derived from both sustainably harvested wild crop and organically farmed bamboo. The fibre is then manufactured using the Tanboocel patented bamboo fibre process. All chemicals are approved for textile use under the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). All potentially harmful parts of the manufacturing process are fully sealed with 99% recycling occurring and nil discharge of process components to the local environment. The finished Tanboocell fibre passes the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 test for chemical residue and is biodegradable.
To read more about Bambu Dru certifications:
Linen is one of the oldest fabrics known to man, it dates back as far as 30,000 years.
Where does Linen come from?
Linen fabrics come from the fibre extracted from the stem of the plant Linum Usitatissimum. Commonly known as flax. Flax is not to be confused with the native NZ plant we commonly see around, they are of different species.
Flax is common with other fibres such as Jute and Hemp, because it is similarly obtained from the stem of the plant.
Why do we prefer a blend of cotton/linen in our fabrics?
Every fibre has its own set of properties related to their fineness, ability to absorb moisture, strength, resistance to abrasion, crease recovery, lustre, heat sensitivity and thermal conductivity, among others. Flax is stronger than cotton and also more moisture absorbent. However, cotton has a lower creasability and does not shrink as much. When combined as a fabric, in the right percentages, one fibres weakness can be overcome by another's strength.
Our linen/cotton blended fabrics can be found in our capsule collection, in our dresses, rompers and face masks.
Silk is regarded world-wide as a luxury fibre, largely due to its high price and manual cultivation. We use silk combined with cotton fibres, to allow for the more regular washing associated with children's wear garments.
Where does Silk come from?
The silk we use is cultivated by the caterpillar of the Bombyx Mori moth. Silk is prized for its smooth appearance, soft lustre, low creasability and warm handle.
We have used a silk/cotton blend of fabric in our [ Teddy Shirt ], [ Betty Bloomer ] and [ Bib ].
All our design, fabric sourcing and production takes place within our local New Zealand textile industry. We employ a skilled team of trained experts, some of which have 30+ years of industry experience. By keeping our production local, we are able to achieve small runs of manufacturing that keep up with demand and have short lead times as a result. We do not have to work to schedules months in advance and we also do not have the high carbon footprint associated with international freighting of cargo across the globe.
Having our manufacturing in New Zealand also means we are supporting an industry full of small businesses like ourselves. Under New Zealand employment laws, strict minimum wages and living wages are enforced. In valuing the skills associated with cutting and manufacturing textile garments, we are contributing to growing an innovative industry that is able to thrive and be a viable career path for many.
By keeping production local, we are also able to meet with the craftspeople who cut and make our garments on a regular basis. We can communicate in the same time zone, which is more efficient and enjoyable for all involved.
OUR PRODUCTION PROCESS
We are constantly adding to our transparency page and updating our fabrics and manufacturing processes as we grow and continue to change the way we operate. Our aim is to keep questioning and refining our processes so we are making the most sustainable and ethical choices, for our planet and people.
To read more about Wilderling and who we are please click here.