Design & Sustainability on

Wool Materealism Q&A with Jamie

— By: Alison Wu

This week, we sat down with Jamie Bainbridge, Nau’s Director of Product and Sustainability, to talk about wool and what makes our wool outerwear collection so special.

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Men’s Transporter Jacket

Q: There are a lot of brands out there that use wool in their collections for its naturally renewable qualities. What makes this wool different?

A: The pieces featured in our wool outerwear collection are all made from recycled wool. Recycling extends the life of the raw material. The factories we use in Prato, Italy, take industrial waste (all the cuttings, selvedges, etc.) and turn it into recycled wool yarn. They use wool scrapes that would otherwise end up in a landfill or for a much lower use.

Q: Historically speaking, recycled wool was of poorer quality. Has that changed?

A: Yes. The factories now have the ability to make high-quality recycled wool. Touching the finished product, you would not be able to tell that it is not virgin wool. In our case, they spin the wool with 20% nylon to give it the needed strength.

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Men’s Wool Patrol Jacket

Q: What makes these pieces water-resistant versus waterproof?

A: All of these pieces are treated with durable water repellant (DWR), giving them some level of water-resistance. DWR causes water to bead up and fall off, allowing the jacket, and you, to stay dry longer than with an untreated jacket. It will eventually soak in, but it does give you an extended range of weather resistance. To take it to the next level, we back the face fabric with a laminate and seal the seams, creating completely waterproof wool. The Men’s Wool Patrol Jacket and Men’s Trenchant Jacket are examples of how this laminated waterproof wool comes to life.

Q: We all know wool keeps us warm, but why else is it so great for use in outerwear?

A: Wool acts as a natural temperature regulator. It has the ability to keep you warm, but it can also keep you cool. Lightweight wool, like our Men’s M2 Polo or Women’s M2 Snap Henley, can be worn in desert climates. The magic of wool lies in the small pockets of air within each fiber that provide insulation and breathability. It also resists odors, mold and mildew. Wool also has the ability to soak up as much as 30 percent of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet. This is one of the reasons it can keep you warm even in the rain, making it ideal for outerwear.

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Women’s Fader Plaid Jacket

Q: How should the pieces in this collection be washed and cared for?

A: These wool jackets hold up well to hand washing. Just fill up your tub or sink, add a mild wool soap (or dish soap works in a pinch), get the jacket wet and let it soak. Agitate a bit with your hands once in a while. Drain the tub, refill with clean water to rinse. Roll the jacket in a towel and walk on it – the fun part – to remove as much water as possible. Lay out flat to dry on a laundry rack. No dry cleaning necessary.

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Women’s Treble Jacket

Words by Alison Wu.
Photography by Christine Speed.