There exists a history, as old as the United States, regarding sheep farming. It involves several important figures, but none more famous than John and Elizabeth Macarthur. This article on the Australian government's website says it all, but it is important to note that there are over 200 breeds of sheep, with the Merino sheep dominating the fine woolen industry.
As you can imagine, in hundreds of years of breeding, there have been many cross breeds produced. Especially because sheep are a nomadic species and travel well. But it was the Macarthurs who kept their flocks true blooded in Australia where the species flourished. Due to their strict breeding habits, we now have fine, superfine and ultra fine wool that are produced from Merino sheep.
It was their determination and a perfect combination of climate and intelligent farmers that provides fabric mills the ingredients to produce woolen fabric as we know it today. From Super 100s to Super 220s, there isn't a fabric that doesn't appease the wearer. As the ultimate performance textile, wool at any fineness has the ability to retain heat as the crimped follicle holds air.
At present, we carry fabrics from these mills with the corresponding Super grades:
- Super 100 - Holland & Sherry
- Super 110 - Filarte, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Gladson
- Super 120 - Guabello
- Super 130 - Vitale Barberis Canonico, Ariston, Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana
- Super 140 - Holland & Sherry
- Super 150 - Vitale Barberis Canonico, Ariston, Guabello, Loro Piana
- Super 160 - Ariston
- Super 180 - Hardy Minnis
- Super 200 - Hardy Minnis
Often times a coarser, thicker fiber is more apropos for suit construction. The heftier the fabric the better it tailors. Finer fabrics often show more puckers and wrinkles but because they feel nicer clients are apt to want them. And so a merino wool with a lower Super number yields a fine handle while also providing a cleaner looking garment.
There is no right or wrong answer in choosing a fabric. Many of our clients choose fabrics based on color, pattern/weave and budget, but there's always more that meets the eye. In the hundreds of years of milling woolen textiles fabrics have gotten finer and finer. Suits in the 1800s were twice as heavy as they are now.
Sheep are wonderful animals that have been around for thousands of years and farmed globally since the 1700s. The wool textile industry has been around since the 1300s. They have a huge impact on economies, religion, culture, science and even cuisines around the world. We encourage our clients to understand what the Super number of a suiting fabric stands for, we also encourage our clients to understand that the history of the woolen industry is similarly important.