Industry News


VIDEO - A Brief History of Wool Textiles – with Peter Ackroyd

Take a walk through the world of wool textiles in this video with one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, Peter Ackroyd. Peter guides us through the origins of the industry in the United Kingdom and beyond. Along the way he describes how different breeds of sheep yield different kinds of wools, and how these result in different fabrics and their uses. The rise of synthetic fibre production in the 1950s had a devastating effect on the wool industry. Peter explains how synthetics like polyester and acrylic were pitched against wool-based purely on price – and wool, a valuable commodity, could not compete. The benefits of wool make it well worth the difference in price, Peter says, and the niche mills of Yorkshire have survived with their classic British offering of knitwear, suits, and jackets – the great British style that is loved the world around. Casualisation, which might have been a new threat, has turned into an opportunity as spinners and weavers have found clever innovations for fine Merino wools in next-to-skin clothing for the athleisure market. Peter wraps up our journey with some thoughts for wool post-Covid, as we collectively engage in a “great fashion reset”. About the Campaign for Wool Peter Ackroyd MBE is Chief Operating Officer of The Campaign for Wool and Chair of the IWTO Wool Retail Forum. This video was made in collaboration between The Campaign for Wool and UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) for the first-ever British Textile Week in September 2020. Currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Campaign for Wool has influenced new demand for wool on an international scale, organising numerous projects and events in key global markets.