Earth Sea Sky Merino Story
Earth Sea Sky merino was introduced to our range in 2000. Its ability to be worn for prolonged lengths of time without washing, soft feel and natural origins made it the perfect addition to our travel/streetwear range.
We sourced our merino fabric from the New Zealand knitting mill that developed a revolutionary superfine merino fabric range. Before this development wool fabrics were widely worn but renown for being scratchy when worn against the skin.
Merino is a breed of sheep traditionally farmed in the high country of New Zealand’s South Island. New Zealand has a reputation for growing the whitest, the cleanest and the most consistent quality Merino in the world.
Merino is graded by its fineness and this is measured by the diameter of each individual fibre. New Zealand Merino generally ranges from 24 microns down to 11 microns (there are 1000 micron to 1mm). As a comparison the average diameter of a human hair is 60 micron.
When it comes to quality, Merino is measured by its micron, not its weight – the lower the micron, the finer the Merino and the higher the price. Buying a Merino garment without knowing the micron content is akin to buying a down sleeping bag or duvet without knowing the percentage of down or its filling power!
Using fibres 18.5 micron and less makes the fabrics soft and able to be worn comfortably against the skin. Using fibres of less than 17.5 microns becomes too costly due to their price. The very fine micron Merinos are woven into premium quality suiting fabric. For mid and outer garments, where durability is more important than softness, Merino with a higher 21 micron is used.
In 2010 the New Zealand knitting facility closed when the company was bought by an international company who moved the production to their Asian based factory. This closure meant it was no longer possible to source merino fabrics made in New Zealand.
Along with this move the company changed from their 100% NZ fibre to source their merino fibre on the open market. This meant the wool fibre came from several other countries as well as New Zealand. We were concerned at the loss of the 100% New Zealand merino story and the quality. After 18 months of searching we found a USA based company that could offer 100% New Zealand yarn. The quality was superior to anything we could find in the market.
This merino is made from wool grown on farms in Central Otago, is knitted and finished in Thailand and is what we use in all our merino garments. Garments are made in our Christchurch factory.
We spent a year developing our new mid layer XT fabric to get the right mix of weight and durability. This fabric was developed for us. It has a soft, warm, terry loop inner surface and hard wearing, tight knit outer surface. Designed for use in outer layer fabrics such as sweatshirts and hoodies.
The finest and lightest Merino in our range. Ultrafine uses a 17.5 micron Merino knitted in a 140 gram/m2 single jersey construction to provide a stable, very soft, machine washable fabric.
Ultrafine is the best performing, natural next-to-skin layer in the outdoors as it combines fast drying properties with breathability and warmth.
This is constructed from 17.5 & 18.5 New Zealand Merino and is a single jersey knit. The fabric is renowned for its stability. Even with constant machine washing and wear our Superfine garments will not lose shape, shrink or pill.
Superfine Merino is used in T-shirts and light outer garments.
Men’s: Merino Singlet, Metro, Weld, Merino Polo, Satellite, Equinox SS, Equinox LS, Bolt, Slingshot
Women’s: Merino Singlet, Pivot, Swift, Glow, Solstice LS, Rata, Catapult
Unisex: Pico, Merino Scarf, Merino Beanie
Superfine Stretch Merino
Our more technical next-to-skin Merino combines 18.5 micron Superfine with a small 5% Lycra® content to produce a close fitting, four-way stretch, single jersey fabric that is guaranteed to maintain its shape after years of wear. For this range we have purposely chosen superfine stretch over less stable rib knit constructions. Rib knit has plenty of stretch but it quickly loses its memory, creating permanent bagginess in the very places you do not want. Our Superfine four-way stretch single jersey construction will never do this.
All our Superfine Stretch Merino garments have flat low-profile seams for maximum comfort. This 210 grams/m² fabric is an ideal weight for durable foundation wear. It will never pill or change shape. Soft, hard wearing Superfine Stretch ensures close fitting, thermal efficiency with complete freedom of movement.
Garments: Merino Boxers, Merino Long Johns
This is the last of our original outer layer Merino fabric. This fabric is a high quality, double knit Boucle with a 93% Merino content. A 7% polyester core ensures the fabric remains stable during washing and wear. The fabric is constructed with a looped outer surface and a smooth underside.
This extremely hard wearing 360 gram/m² 21 micron fabric provides maximum warmth and wind protection. It is the closest we have come to a home grown generic New Zealand fabric. The merino was grown in the South Island’s McKenzie High Country, it was processed in Wellington, then knitted in Auckland and garments made in Christchurch.
Women’s: Icon, Ngaio