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Year of Wool

Year of Wool

Growing up on a wool producing farm in Victoria, Luke Hooke developed a passion for wool - for its versatility and superb natural qualities. Years later, living in Melbourne, Luke set himself a goal. His aim was to 'wear nothing but wool and wool blend clothing for 365 days to spread the word about the incredible qualities of wool and wool clothing'. MiniJumbuk supported Luke's quest, offering him a MiniJumbuk wool bedding package. Recently, we caught up with Luke for an insight into his experience.

How much wool were you using before? I have always had a lot of wool in my wardrobe. Growing up on a wool farm, this is inevitable. What encouraged my interest in wool products and how far the idea could be pushed was an interest in some of the new technology being developed. The wool fibre started appearing in shoes, underwear and even surfboards. I was aware of these development and all the cool things people were doing with wool, but the narrative with consumers didn't seem to be changing. Wool still seemed to be viewed as a bit old fashioned, itchy and the sort of thing you only use or wear in winter. That's changing though. Thanks to the success of products like wool runners, more people are aware of and talking about wool.

Wool is an expensive fibre. Did you find it value for money? Wool can perform better for longer; the products always pay you back in the long run. There are also increasingly affordable wool options appearing. With increased competition in the wool garment space, there are a number of brands offering good value, high quality wool products.

Did you enjoy your year of wool? I loved my year with wool. I spent the year speaking to really passionate and inspiring people doing incredible things with wool. I visited MiniJumbuk and was shown around the factory by Darren Turner. Witnessing the activity in the MiniJumbuk factory in Naracoorte and hearing from the dedicated staff made me really proud to be Australian. Manufacturing has had a tough recent history in Australia, particularly in the wool industry. Through the year it was great to see some of the old and new businesses in the wool industry that are producing high-quality products and showing a real commitment to Australian manufacturing.

Did you experience any health or lifestyle benefits wearing wool? When you love wool, you love yourself. Wool allows you to wear less, wash less often, pack less when you travel, manage your allergies and rest easy knowing that you're sleeping on a sustainable fibre. I, like a lot of people today, am conscious of my environmental footprint. Wool helps you to be a good environmental citizen by using less water washing clothes, using a sustainable and biodegradable fibre, and, if your game, travelling with only carry-on baggage - because you shouldn't have to wash wool clothing too often, you can travel with less clothing.

What was your inspiration for taking up the challenge? I've always been an advocate of wearing more wool but a frustration with the eternal misconceptions about wool and wool products, along with a desire to learn more about the industry, inspired my year of wearing only wool. Australia has so much to gain out of a strong wool industry, out of more people wearing and using wool products. There are not too many things that we lead the world in but producing wool is one of them. We should be celebrating this fact while also pushing it to its full potential through manufacturing and value-adding.

Was it a challenge? Why? Wearing and using wool is not a challenge in itself but it was a challenge obtaining the products to wear, use, test and talk about. It was only with the generous support of Australian businesses like MiniJumbuk that my project was possible.

Did you previously sleep with wool? I already slept with a MiniJumbuk Everyday quilt, a gift from my wool-loving mother! Sleeping with wool is really luxurious, I haven't looked back.

Did sleeping with MiniJumbuk bedding impact your sleep patterns, sleep temperature or comfort? I use an Everyday quilt for most of the year and a Cool quilt in summer. I really enjoy the Cool quilt because it allows you to have the comfort of a cover without overheating. Nobody likes those summer nights when you go to bed hot only to be woken at 4am, cold and without a quilt. Wool naturally acts as insulation for sheep, keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter. We'd be crazy if we didn't use the natural properties of wool to do the same for us while we sleep.

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