The evolution of superfine: A look into the Merino wool trend

28 September 2017

"Superfine cloths are a hallmark of a good suit, and one should always invest in the best cloth within one's budget."

Oscar Hunt is proud to be an Australian company using some of the world's most beautiful cloths produced from Australian superfine Merino wool. The superfine Merino yarn story is one century in the making, covering multiple continents and a history of sheep husbandry that today makes our country the leader in wool production.

Originating from Spain, the famed ram offered a rich fibre spun into yarn to make Merino wool clothing. Until the 18th Century, exporting rams from Spain was a crime punishable by death, however, future generations allowed various exports to Sweden, Saxony, Prussia and France. After receiving 366 sheep from Spain, Louis XVI of France bred them with English sheep at the Royal Farm at Rambouillet. This Rambouillet stud was the foundation of what became Australian Merino wool. The first export in 1860 was a particularly handsome ram, named Emperor, by the now legendary Peppin brothers. Today, it's believed as many as 70 percent of today’s Australian Merinos are directly descended from the sheep developed by the Peppins.

There are four types of official Merino wool, each named after their origins that led to their domestication in Australia. The Wool Growers Association cites the variations of climatic conditions as well as specialised husbandry as the principal reason the Australian Merino has succeeded. Paired with modern fertilisation techniques, the industry continues to grow from strength to strength.

The attraction to Australian superfine Merino wool is its high fibre micronage or Super number. The numbers denote the fineness of the individual fibres to produce the cloth; the larger the number the more refined the fabric and the smoother and silkier to touch. Clothmakers, Dormeuil and Dugdale are both large buyers of superfine wool, which is reflected in the quality of their product.

Superfine cloths are a hallmark of a good suit, and one should always invest in the best cloth within one's budget. Your tailor can advise on the best cloth for your suit and can decode the complexities of the grading system.

When you buy an Australian Merino superfine cloth made by one of the world's best clothmakers, you're buying into a fabled history. A combination of imported sheep and homegrown innovation has led to one of our most successful exports to date.

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