My in-laws recently visited Iceland (on my bucket list!) where they attended a longstanding Icelandic tradition, the annual sheep roundup called réttir. In early Fall, Icelandic farmers and their families scale mountains to collect their sheep (that they've set loose in Spring) before Iceland‘s long and dark winter sets in. So many great idioms come to mind ... This week we are going to have our own Rettir and gather our sheep (really wool products!) in preparation for the Winter! I assure you that you will be in the Loupe and not look like the proverbial sheep (everyone else!).
Allbirds is a San Francisco start-up shoe company introduced to me by Louper Steven W. Upon hearing of these (last week!) I immediately ordered myself a pair of wool runners and haven't really taken them off yet. In fact, I am considering going Marie Kondo on the rest of my shoes since I don't reach for anything else! The shoes are made entirely of Merino wool and have no visible logo (a departure from most shoe companies). They come in two base colors (black or grey), and then they do a limited edition in a special color, which are all the rage. The edition color when I ordered was Tul Green which was a little too out there, even for me! The women's and men's lines are simple, lightweight, flexible and soft (you can wear w/out socks, ahhh) and the Merino wool regulates temperature, wicks moisture, and minimizes odor (thank God). You can easily don these when you walk, run, live or ... count your sheep!
I was first introduced to the classic UGG boot about 17 years ago when a received them as a holiday gift from a bond salesperson who fell in love with them after he visited Australia (even though they started in the surf culture in Southern California). I wore them in the Winter, I wore them in the Summer, really whenever I could (you didn't know I was a trendsetter). Soon they became very popular here, almost to the point of brand saturation. However, what was great about these boots was the wool, which provided all weather comfort. While they weren't the best looking boot, they were very cool when no one else had them. Fast forward to this week, as the cool hangs in the air, I went inside the store on Madison and found that they have diversified their wool offering. In particular I found that they make lounge clothing (sweat shorts, sweat pants, and robes) year around. I tried them on and was amazed at how comfortable they are. Once again, these wool (sweatpants & sweat shirt) replaced my cotton (sweatpants & sweat shirt). While I can hardly claim to have found UGG boots, I can keep you in the Loupe and let you know it's now all about UGG Apparel. Bah, bah!
Icebreaker Apparel started over two decades ago with the chance meeting between a marketing executive (Jeremy Moon) and a Merino sheep farmer in New Zealand. Jeremy tried on a Merino wool tee shirt and it seems he never took it off! Merino sheep grow a protective layer of wool that is soft and allows them to survive in the mountains of New Zealand through the Winter. The wool is very durable, not clammy like synthetics, and not smelly like cotton. This material works for both warm and cold climates, buffers the body against extreme heat or cold, and breathes well (perfect for outdoor active or passive endeavors). The lines are diverse (underwear, t-shirts, jackets and accessories) but I love my underwear. Calling all skiers, hikers, sports fans, and triathletes, don't be a black sheep, join the merino wool movement. Happy rounding up!