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Prince Charles: Designers must not forget the miraculous benefits of wool

Architects, interior designers and engineers in the construction industry could, and should, use more wool in their buildings rather than relying on synthetic alternatives.

That is the view of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is fronting a new campaign to inspire creators from multiple disciplines to embrace the possibilities of a material that “is an excellent insulator even when wet, a natural fire retardant, odour-resistant, and absorbent of both shocks and sound.”

In a column for the Telegraph, the prince wrote: “We seem to have rather lost sight of the much bigger contribution that wool should be making in our lives. I want to encourage much greater understanding of it not only as a global environmental resource – versatile, sustainable, renewable and natural – but also as a global fashion [and design] resource of the highest quality.”

Prince Charles added that at a time when we are facing up to the challenges of climate change, more focus should be placed on natural materials that can be recycled and do not require fossil fuels to make them.

Wool, he said, is a “miraculous” material as it grows naturally, requires only grass and water as raw materials, has natural resilience and elasticity and has been used in a wide variety of ways “since Medieval times”.

A conference will be held next week in Scotland by the Campaign for Wool, a group established the the royal to promote its wider usage, to discuss the topic. Weavers, spinners, environmentalists, sheep farmers, fashion and interior designers, mill owners, carpet makers and retailers will be invited to discuss how to help the industry continue bouncing back after a difficult few years – which until recently had seen wool prices fall sharply due to our growing demand for synthetic fibres.

Charles said such demand was “short-sighted in the extreme” as synthetics are not biodegradable.

“Some parts of an industry [are still] sadly dominated by mass-produced chemical fibres, and cost is of course also a factor,” he wrote, “but today’s environmentally aware consumers do seem to be seeking out quality and durability in fashion, lifestyle and interiors.

“That is exactly what wool provides.”

Prince Charles  Wool  Campaign for Wool  design  architecture  fashion 
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27 Oct 2010

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Architects, interior designers and engineers in the construction industry could, and should, use more wool in their buildings rather than relying on synthetic alternatives. That is the view of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is fronting a new campaign to inspire creators from multiple disciplines to embrace the possibilities of a material that “is an excellent insulator even when wet, a natural fire retardant, odour-resistant, and absorbent of both shocks
CLD,ARC,DES,PHR,ECO
Prince Charles is a long-term campaigner for the wool industry / Anna Gowthorpe / PA Archive/Press Association Images
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