Merino wool vs. cotton vs. synthetic

Not so cotton...

Until the Industrial Revolution, most clothing was made from wool. At the end of the 18th century, the invention of mechanical spinners and weavers caused the production of cotton fabrics to explode.

With the Second World War, cotton became essential: the first t-shirts appeared, popularized by American soldiers. In 1950 it represented more than 70% of the fibers used in textiles. This plant fiber, soft and beautiful in appearance, easy to bleach and able to be produced in large quantities at low cost, will become the basis of the emerging clothing industry.

This is how we all got used to wearing cotton shirts and underwear. However, this fiber is far from ideal: it absorbs moisture poorly, dries slowly, and bacteria and associated odors develop easily...

Although plant-based, its production also poses major ecological and human problems: it requires a lot of space, pesticides, water, and labor which is unfortunately not always treated very well...

Plastic, It's Fantastic?

Nylon, polyester, polyurethane, polyamide, elastane, acrylic... synthetics will supplant cotton in the 1970s, representing 65% of fabrics today. 73% if we add fabrics chemically made from cellulose (viscose, Lyocell, Tencel, etc...).

These new materials indeed present numerous advantages for manufacturers: they are easy to produce, abundant (derived from petroleum), and cost much less than natural fibers. The general public, for their part, favors these modern, fine, soft and robust fabrics. In sports, the ability of synthetic to dry quickly quickly made it an essential fiber.

But with landfills overflowing with non-biodegradable clothing, and oceans contaminated by micro-plastics released from washing machines, synthetic fibers are now considered one of the main sources of plastic pollution.

Another fault, and not the least: if you sweat you will quickly smell like a gym locker room...

The return of wool

Although it now represents only 1% of clothing due to its price and rarity, wool seems to be making a comeback over the past ten years.

It must be said that today's wool is not yesterday's wool, heavy and prickly. Merino in particular! Its natural qualities have indeed been able to be enhanced by innovative manufacturing techniques. Thus, Absolu Béni Merino clothing is not only soft, always dry, thermo-regulating, anti-odor, but it is also as robust and easy to maintain as cotton or synthetic.

While some brands do not hesitate to mix merino with other less expensive fibers, at Béni, we choose not to dilute the exceptional qualities of this wool.

100% Absolute Merino or nothing!

Let's take a closer look...

Merino wool fiber, a true miracle of nature, is the result of a long evolution which has allowed these sheep to adapt to varied climates with extreme temperatures. The result: a very fine fiber, with an extremely complex structure, which gives it its multiple properties. In comparison, plant or synthetic fibers pale in comparison...

Take its thermoregulation property for example. It is explained first of all by its insulation capacity. Wool fibers retain a large volume of air thanks to their internal cells and their wavy nature. Merino wool, due to its fineness, is the one with the most crimps (undulations), up to 60 per cm. This air cushion constitutes an excellent insulating layer between our skin and the cold or heat of the outside.

The second explanation is linked to a complex physico-chemical phenomenon. Wool produces heat when it absorbs moisture, and vice versa. So if you leave a warm room to go outside, the wool will then capture water vapor from the air and keep you warm. In summary, it works like natural reversible air conditioning.

Who says better?

Follow us on Instagram