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Beyond the Bale : December 2015
26 OFF FARM Bluey Merino is an Australian owned activewear and outdoor clothing brand with a core focus on manufacturing garments that are super soft and provide ultimate next to skin comfort. The company highlights the traceability of its garments through the supply chain from the farms that grow the Merino wool fibre to the manufacturing of the garments in Australia. Until recently, the company’s product range has been made from 100 per cent Australian superfine Merino wool of 18.3 micron. However, last month it launched an additional collection of even softer apparel made from Australian ultrafine Merino wool of 16.3 micron (core spun with 10 per cent high grade Nylon to improve durability). The fabric in the new range has been tested by the Australian Wool Testing Authority using the industry’s new ComfortMeter. While fabrics that are rated as providing ‘everyday comfort’ require a score ≤ 600 and elite performance activewear needs to score ≤ 250, Bluey Merino’s new range of activewear singlets scores an impressive 103 and 109 respectively. The company sources direct from a select group of Australian Merino woolgrowers in the NSW Northern Tablelands and Southern Slopes and Plains for fibre that has softness, strength, lustre and character. This arrangement benefits the woolgrowers, who receive a premium. “It’s this commitment to selective sourcing, measurement and constantly seeking a softer next-to-skin experience that we believe differentiates us from all other activewear and outdoor Merino clothing brands in Australia,” Bluey Merino founder Andrew Ross says. Knowing where the fibre comes from also enables the brand to provide transparency and tell a great marketing story to consumers. “With the wool being fully traceable to specific family-owned farms and woolgrowers, the company can showcase the human face of farming and the farms’ high animal welfare standards and environmentally friendly production practices,” he said. The super soft wool in Bluey’s new range is sourced from the Blomfield family’s ‘Karori’ property north east of Walcha. Rob and Katrina, and their son Ed and his wife Karen, take great pride in their 6,000 sheep and have worked hard to ensure they produce the right fibre characteristics to ensure extreme softness for the new apparel. “Our fibre is of a quality that’s probably rare in the wool industry; people have always said that the wool at Karori is the softest wool they’ve ever seen in Australia for its micron range,” Rob said. The whole family was excited to receive its delivery of garments from the new range. “When Andrew Ross from Bluey Merino showed us the fabric, it was so soft to the touch and felt sensational next to the skin – we just thought ‘yes, that’s what we’re trying to do’,” Katrina said. Rob explained how one of their regular shearers was given a Bluey singlet to wear in the shed that day. “He had actually shorn half the sheep that particular year so he had shorn half the wool in that garment. I asked him as he left the shed how it felt wearing the singlet and he said that it was absolutely amazing – he said you couldn’t feel it, it was so soft. That was just so lovely to hear, from someone that was working hard shearing the sheep, he had it against his skin and it just felt so good. That’s a really good feeling for us as woolgrowers.” Traceability of the wool in Bluey Merino’s apparel does not stop at the farm gate – it extends through the whole supply chain. The wool is spun into yarn in Italy, and the rest of the manufacturing process is done completely onshore in Australia, which embeds the ‘Australian Made and Owned’ ethos into the company and supports the company’s marketing activities. “We track the progress of our fibre from its origin through to every stage of production, seeking to integrate the best partners at every phase of this process,” Andrew said. MORE INFORMATION www.blueymerino.com BLUEY MERINO: SUPER SOFT WOOL SOURCED DIRECT FROM THE FARM Bluey Merino sources from a select group of Australian Merino woolgrowers known for both their ethical and sustainable production methods and, most importantly, the softness and consistency of their fibre. Left: The shearing shed at ‘Karori’. Below: Rob and Katrina Blomfield. PHOTOS: Caleb Westwood
In the Shops - March 2016