The climate threats facing fashion’s favourite natural fibres

Among a host of challenges facing the fashion industry in light of climate change, the sourcing of natural fibres is likely to become more difficult. Diversifying supply chains is only a temporary solution.

close up view of shorn wool

For the past few years, New York fashion brand Another Tomorrow has sourced its wool from two farms in Nile, a rural town in Tasmania, Australia. However, one of the farmers has struggled through a series of droughts that dried up forage for his sheep, threatening the supply of wool.

When an unusual amount of rainfall then hit the region this year and forage was plentiful, the farmer thought he was finally getting a break. In August, after shearing the sheep, he sent the wool for testing. The verdict was disastrous: The heavy rainfall had transformed the quality of the wool, making it unsuitable for Another Tomorrow’s fabrics, which required a thicker quality. “The technical quality of the wool changed so dramatically that we couldn’t use it,” says Vanessa Barboni Hallik, CEO of Another Tomorrow. “We had to seek out a new supply.”

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