STYLE

This Family Of Aussie Wool Growers Sells Their Own Merino Scarves

From flock to fabric.

20/01/2017 11:52 AM AEDT | Updated 24/01/2017 8:30 AM AEDT

For Pip, Norm and Ian Smith, 'LoveMerino' is a family story that has been years in the making.

At Glenwood, in the hills above Wellington in central west New South Wales, the Smith family have been growing wool for over five generations. They have a passion for Merino -- and securing its future.

Now, they are designing and manufacturing products that can be traced back to a specific flock.

We wanted to allow people from all walks of life to be able to stand in our shoes and experience our farm from afar.

"It has been the eternal frustration of many wool growers who know they are growing quality natural fibres but don't know where their wool ends up," co founder and brother of Norm Smith, Ian Smith told The Huffington Post Australia.

"My grandfather, father and now my brother Norm and sister-in-law Pip would shear once a year and go down to the sale in Sydney or Newcastle. All of the big buyers would tell them what great quality the wool was and they'd get a great price, but they'd have no idea thereafter."

Supplied
Meet the family.

Why Merino?

Rich in natural and renewable properties, Merino wool is the result of millions of years of evolution. For the past twenty years, the Smith family have been pioneering a new type of ethically and sustainably-farmed Merino fibre.

He hasn't mulesed his sheep since 2005.

"My brother uses what's called SRS genetics that result in a wrinkle-free Merino. It is much less susceptible to flystrike and has enabled breeders to stop mulesing," Smith said.

"He hasn't mulesed his sheep since 2005."

On the farm, Smith describes an holistic management farming practice used for the last two decades that sees grazing returned to "how nature intended".

"Our Merinos are grazed to mimic nature which has led to the re-emergence of unique species of native grasses thought to be extinct in the region. Not only is the land regenerating a lot better, but biodiversity is increasing above and below the ground," Smith said.

"We have this fantastic, sustainable natural fibre but it wasn't being recognised."

Supplied
A well rehearsed dance.

A leap of faith

Over the years, the Smith family have have been approached by international companies to enter into clothing manufacturing.

"But these large manufacturers don't want to pay a premium for the wool," Smith said.

In view of re-invigorating Australian manufacturing and the future of the local wool industry, 'LoveMerino' was launched six months ago.

Working with local manufacturer Warwick Rolfe, of Woolerina, Forbes, and a team of local artists and designers, the brand became a range of limited edition Merino scarves that can be traced directly from Glenwood flock to fabric.

Supplied
Ethical, sustainable and collectible.

"We control the entire supply chain. Warwick overseeas the processing and knitting of the wool in Melbourne. It is then hand printed or Shibori dyed in Sydney," explains Smith.

"We can tell you what flock of sheep your garment comes from."

Fighting against fast fashion

With his background in international trade and business, Smith said the move embraced slow fashion.

"There is much more demand, both locally and overseas (particularly the US and Asia) for Australian-made and ethically-sourced fabrics," Smith said.

"We can guarantee consumers that our practices are ethical and sustainable at every point in production."

And it is one that he hopes will drive investment in regional Australia.

Why couldn't we bring all our our manufacturing back to regional Australia to generate jobs and create community wealth?

"E-commerce is such an important channel for regional companies and for how regional Australia moves forward," Smith said.

"Down the track, why couldn't we bring all our our manufacturing back to regional Australia to generate jobs and create community wealth?"

Supplied
"This is where the story is."

With any progression, the 'LoveMerino' story will remain at its centre.

"We want to allow people from all walks of life to be able to stand in our shoes and experience our farm from afar."

ALSO ON HUFFPOST AUSTRALIA

Visit HuffPost Australia's profile on Pinterest.

C

More On This Topic