Collaboration saves synthetics from landfill
Amanda Dorset was “sick to death” of crafting natural woollen products for conscientious consumers but having to stuff them with synthetics. Then a collaboration provided the perfect solution. Wilson & Dorset, designers and makers of beautiful sheepskin furnishings and based in Wānaka, has just launched a series of home décor pieces that are now “fully woolly” – both […]
Amanda Dorset was “sick to death” of crafting natural woollen products for conscientious consumers but having to stuff them with synthetics. Then a collaboration provided the perfect solution.
Wilson & Dorset, designers and makers of beautiful sheepskin furnishings and based in Wānaka, has just launched a series of home décor pieces that are now “fully woolly” – both outside and in. Collaborating with a similarly future-focused wool brand – Wisewool – Amanda and husband Ben Wilson’s stunning sheepskin cushions and stackable ‘stone’ sets are now filled with Wisewool’s revolutionary engineered wool.
It’s a huge sigh of relief for Amanda, who says Wilson & Dorset have been focused on better outcomes from the planet for some time, but just couldn’t find a suitable supplier of natural filling. When renowned chef and restaurateur Al Brown introduced Amanda to Harry Urquhart-Hay, one of Wisewool’s founders, the pair immediately saw the potential to work together.
“As the world learns more about the peril the planet is in, there’s rising demand for 100% renewable, sustainable and biodegradable fibres that offer style, form and functionality,” says Amanda. “We could no longer, in good conscience, contribute to the climate emergency by filling our natural woollen products with petrochemical based synthetics. As the saying goes, what’s inside matters. Wisewool’s wool fill provided us a 100% natural offering and was the solution to us maintaining environmental integrity.”
By using Wisewool wool fill inside its cushions and stone sets – which act as bolsters or floor furniture for leaning against, working on or relaxing into – more than 600kg of imported polyester fill will be saved each year from eventually ending up in landfill. “Soon, our shaggy sheepskin beanbags will also be filled with wool, saving a further 350,000 litres of nasty synthetic ‘beans’ from being manufactured and used.”
Harry Urquhart-Hay says using wool fill is good news for New Zealand, the planet, and for the strong wool sector locally.
“At Wisewool, one of our key values is to improve strong wool prices for our farmers,” says Harry. “We do this by taking their incredible fibre, which already has a reputation for being the best wool in the world, and developing it into a value-add, branded product. At our plant near Matamata, we engineer New Zealand strong wool into woollen ‘buds’ and woollen ‘cloud’. Working with Callaghan Innovation and the University of Otago’s textile department, we’ve learnt to harness the compressional resilience of wool. Therefore, we can replace synthetic filling with our premium equivalent where loft is required – from puffer jackets to pillows to sofas.”
Wilson & Dorset’s industry-first “fully woolly” furnishing series is now available to purchase online at www.wilsondorset.com
“This is a collection I can say we’re truly proud of through and through,” says Amanda. “Each product is of the land, harnessing wool’s natural attributes, and will return to the land and fully break down at the end of its long life.”
Photography by Jodie James.