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Wool's wow factor

By Kitty Go | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-24 13:53

Wool's wow factor

Latest collection of Plotz, from Hong Kong. Provided to China Daily

Versatile, practical and ever fashionable, wool is in many respects a miracle fabric. Kitty Go reports how the worlds top designers got their start working with one of the worlds oldest materials.

Wool may be one of the oldest textiles in the world but it has also proven to be one of the most resilient to changing fashions and adaptable to innovative fabric technology. The oldest wool fabric was found in Denmark and dates back to 1500 BC. Wool is commonly used in clothing for fall and winter.

However, unknown to many, it is versatile enough to insulate against both heat and cold as demonstrated by the Tuareg people living in the Sahara desert. They wear a cape during the day to shield themselves against heat and the same cape at night to keep warm.

Throughout history, wool has figured prominently in daily life, either in the form of garments, or home furnishings such as blankets and rugs.

Wool has also been at the center of several turning points in fashion history. In 1916, designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel adapted the wool jersey, then used as men's underwear, and created the comfortable and chic cardigans she became known for; Christian Dior fashioned his revolutionary and extravagant "New Look" in 1947 with yards and yards of wool.

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