Icebreaker Created a New Clothing Category That Uses a Natural Fiber in a Synthetic World

August 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

One of the advantages of searching for a job and writing a brand marketing blog is that I have had the opportunity to discover a number of great stories about entrepreneurs who have built meaningful brands. I recently came across the story of Icebreaker. Icebreaker is an outdoor apparel company headquartered in New Zealand. Icebreaker apparel is made from merino wool. Icebreaker created an entirely new category: Merino Active Clothing.

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Icebreaker has it roots in a chance encounter. In 1994, marketing graduate Jeremy Moon met a merino grower who was using a new technology to create a unique performance fabric. The fabric delivered the key benefits of synthetics (easy care, lightweight, quick drying) combined with the natural benefits of merino (warm, breathable, odor resistant, biodegradable. Merino wool is significantly different from traditional wool. Traditional wool is heavy, bulky, itchy and takes a long time to dry. Merino fleece is built for extremes, breathable in summer, insulating in winter, but soft and exceptionally lightweight.

Moon, a recent college graduate was intrigued, and after wearing it, was hooked on the benefits of the lightweight, silky soft natural fibre. The late Sir Peter Blake wore a prototype fabric when he set a new world circumnavigation yachting record. He claimed the fabric was superior in every way to anything he had ever worn before. This convinced Moon to quit his job and launch Icebreaker. Moon found investors who believed in his vision. He also found a highly skilled and experienced board of directors to provide guidance to his young apparel company.

Icebreaker began selling its products in New Zealand and them expanded to Australia. Today Icebreaker products are sold in over 30 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Icebreaker. Icebreaker offers a full line of underwear, base layers, t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants, hats, socks and gloves.

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Icebreaker was conceived and designed around the philosophy of sustainability, using natural fibres, environmental and social ethics and animal welfare. In August 2008, Icebreaker launched Baacode, a system that allows consumers to trace the origins of their Icebreaker right to a sheep station in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, where the merino fibre was grown. Icebreaker is committed to a sustainable business model that does not put profits ahead of the environment.

Have you worn Icebreaker Merino wool?

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