‘Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel’: World’s best fibre downplays synthetics in Australian Wool Innovation campaign

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Australian Wool Innovation has launced a new international campaign 
‘Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel’.
Camera IconAustralian Wool Innovation has launced a new international campaign ‘Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel’. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation/Australian Wool Innovation

“Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel”.

That’s the mantra of a new international campaign launched by Australian Wool Innovation this week.

The campaign titled with the same motto has been devised by AWI’s marketing arm — The Woolmark Company.

AWI chief executive officer John Roberts said it had a simple but powerful message.

“It aims to show people the hidden impact of synthetic fibres on the environment and how choosing natural fibres such as wool can be a solution to reducing fashion’s impact,” he said.

“The campaign features a series of powerful visual messages that highlight the link between fabrics made from synthetic fibres and the crude oil used in their manufacture.”

The campaign centres around a minute-long advertisement showing three struggling to escape an oil-filled swimming pool, before stripping off their oil-soaked clothing to reveal clean woollen garments.

The clip reveals the shocking statistic that every 25 minutes, an Olympic swimming pool’s worth of crude oil is used to produce synthetic clothing, which amounts to almost 350 million barrels a year.

It was launched digitally this week, with initial media scheduled for Australia, the US, the United Kingdom and France.

Research conducted by The Woolmark Company has shown that while more than one third of global consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainability, most did not consider what fibre they were choosing when they were shopping.

The research highlighted that consumers were not making the link between synthetic fibres and fossil fuels.

Mr Roberts said consumers should know the natural, biodegradable and recyclable qualities of wool were superior to synthetics.

“It is predicted that in just ten years’ time, 73 per cent of the entire clothing market will be made from synthetic fibres, which are derived directly from fossil fuels,” he said.

“The impact these clothes have during the use and end of life stages of their lifetime cannot be underestimated.

“It’s been said the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles’ worth of microfibres enter wastewater every year just from washing.

“Science shows that wool fibres biodegrade in both land and marine environments, so we know that Merino wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution.”

Mr Roberts said studies also showed wool clothes were amongst the oldest in wardrobes, with high levels of reuse and donation, along with high levels of recycling and commercially viable end-of-life pathways.

“These factors alone indicate why choosing clothes made from natural fibres, such as Merino wool, are so important in transitioning to a circular, slow fashion model,” he said.

AWI worked with creative agency, 20something to develop the campaign.

20something’s strategy partner Fran Docx said the message was timely and important.

“Back in 1980, our wardrobes were filled with natural materials like cotton, wool and cashmere,” she said.

“These natural fibres made up 60 per cent of the market, far outstripping the relatively new polyester and polyamide alternatives.

“The rise of fast fashion, Instagram outfit culture and turbocharged consumerism has seen a wholesale shift in what lurks in our wardrobes.”

Docx said the campaign would raise awareness of sustainable alternatives to synthetic fabrics. .”

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