When you hear about Iceland you may be thinking about the blue lagoon, the aurora or some amazing landscapes.
We do too, here is one of our captures of the Aurora Borealis in Iceland.
BUT, have you ever thought about the FASHION from Iceland?
Icelandic fashion came from when the Vikings settled in Iceland way back and inhabited it. If you don’t know already, the weather in Iceland can be pretty intense – ARCTIC intense.
So, in order to keep warm the Vikings used Icelandic sheep's wool.
*DISCLAIMER – Sheep are not harmed in the shearing of their own wool in Iceland. Much care goes into this process in fact. Sheep are not generally able to shed their own wool. Because of this, if sheep are not sheared, there are multiple issues that can occur for the sheep (i.e. poor regulation of body temperature; urine, feces and other things can get trapped in the wool and therefore can attract flies, pests, etc. causing unhealthy irritations; sometimes large amounts of wool can actually immobilize the sheep).
So, what is so special about Icelandic sheep’s wool over other wools? We interviewed the Icelandic manufacturer we work with, Varma in Reykjavik Iceland, and here are some of the top things he had to say:
- The Origin - "The origin of the Icelandic wool has a history all the way back to the settlement when the Norwegians moved to Iceland with sheep. Over the years, the Icelandic sheep has become unique with it’s wool – adapting to a double layer.”
- The Double Layered Wool -“There is an outer layer with a large diameter that protects the sheep against humidity cold and wetness. As well as an inner layer, which is composed of a sort of insulation hair which is shorter and thinner.”
- Strengths For Everyday Wear - “Our flagship is the Icelandic fleece, which has a history spanning over a millennium in harsh Icelandic weather conditions. The wool is warm, light, breathable, and water repellent. For a long time the Icelandic wool was one of Iceland’s biggest exports...Due to it’s evolved state – the Icelandic sheep’s wool is not only extremely warm, but also water repellent, making it ideal for all sorts of garments.”
- Sustainable - "The production process for wool yarn is incredibly sustainable. We use natural sources such as clean water and geothermal energy when making our wool yarn. The Icelandic sheep roam freely in nature grazing on grass and wild flora. The cleaning of the wool is done as free of chemicals and detergents as possible in order to protect its natural oil coating; resulting in a warm, light and water repellent wool clothing. That said, we are constantly trying to improve the texture and softness of the wool without losing its inherent qualities."
- Warmer Than Other Materials - Due to the double layering properties and water-repellent components, Icelandic wool hats and scarves will absolutely be warmer than any other cotton/acrylic accessory you may own. Wool fibers trap air, preventing that cold air from even getting to your body. When exposed to wet conditions, like rain or sweat, wool actually has natural wicking properties that prevents moisture from getting to your body. Additionally, Icelandic wool specifically may even be warmer than if you were to own a different wool product produced from wool in another country due to the evolution of the Icelandic sheep's wool.
- Amount of Wool Used Per Item is MORE Than Competitors -The stitching and production processes of the Icelandic wool and the specific manufacturer we work with, Varma, ensures that 100% made of wool will stand out from other products you may own that also claim to be "100% made of wool". Why? As we've learned there are many versions of "100%" as well as how much physical yarn goes into the production of one piece, like a hat. In some products you may buy, you may notice that for instance, a hat of yours is stitched so that you can literally stick your fingers through if you so desired or stretch it enough to see the other side. Sure, this product can be "made of 100% wool", but will it be effective in keeping the cold out of the holes within the stitches? Not so much.
Through the centuries, the wool has kept the people of Iceland warm and has been an essential part of their everyday life, no matter the activity. The Icelandic wool is an environmentally friendly natural product and has proved to be extremely protective during the harsh Arctic winter.
Our Iceland pieces are hand-stitched together from the wool coat of the freely roaming Icelandic Sheep across the island.