It was the end of 2021 when Icewear announced its greatest innovation after almost 50 years in business. In partnership with Ístex, Icewear launched a new outdoor line with unique and sustainable Icelandic wool insulation.
Icelandic wool insulation of this quality (over 80% wool) had never been seen. This insulation is OEKO-TEX certified and offers qualities seen only in Icelandic wool. Icelandic wool’s most characteristic feature is its two layers (inner wool and long outer hair). Parts of that wool previously discarded, because it doesn’t have the structure necessary for yarn, could now be mixed into a new wool insulation, making for holistic use of the source wool.
Icewear’s CEO, Aðalsteinn Pálsson, comments, “This innovation will drive the wool industry into the future.”
Clothes Waste Management in the Wool Industry
Pálsson and the rest of Icewear have become more environmentally outspoken than ever with this innovation. It’s not only about Icewear making better use of raw product: it’s about waste management in the wool industry. Icewear has done more than reduce waste, too. It’s taken would-be waste and turned it into a line of quality products.
What was once “waste” was also previously a loss for sheep farmers. Now, Icewear is able to pay farmers more for the wool they produce, which makes Icewear’s new outdoor line even more sustainable environmentally and socially.
No other company in the world produces outdoor clothing with Icelandic wool, so Icewear was uniquely positioned to impact the industry.
Unique Products with Exclusive Properties
Icewear’s new insulation offers a long list of benefits to wearers to stay dry, clean, and regulate body temperature outdoors.
It’s the use of Icelandic wool, specifically (and both layers of that wool) that brings these benefits to wearers. It:
- Provides consistent warmth in ever-changing outdoor conditions.
- Maintains stable temperature even when wet.
- Does not clump together when wet.
- Has antibacterial properties.
- Optimizes breathability.
- Is especially light.
- Repels water.
What’s Next for the Wool Industry in Iceland
Icelandic wool shifted in the 1970s and 1980s from a domestic market to a globally exported good. Today, Ístex is the only working wool factory in Iceland, and Icewear works with them to create this new and unique Icelandic wool insulation.
Once washed and treated, wool is separated into what will become yarn and what won’t. There remain literal tons of opportunity for other brands to think like Icewear and make sustainable products using all parts of the wool.