Craft / November 2015

Track Record: Loro Piana's 'Record Bale' Competition

There are a great many inspiring awards and initiatives within the wool industry, intended to elevate the quality of this most noble of natural fibres. Even so, none have quite the prestige of Loro Piana’s remarkable ‘Record Bale’ competition.

The production of beautiful woollen fabrics, as many readers will doubtless be aware, requires what is in many ways the perfect balance between art and science, passion and precision, care and commitment to quality. There are many initiatives in the wool industry that seek to recognise this, and promote the endeavours of woollen sheep breeders and the craft of woollen fabric production. Even so, few have made a more significant impact in recent years than Loro Piana's 'Record Bale' competition.

Held annually for the last eighteen years, the competition serves to recognise the efforts of the most elevated wool producers in the world; those noble individuals who pioneer the production of the most luxurious woollen fibres known to man. The centre for the competition naturally, is Australia and New Zealand, where the world's finest merino wool has been sourced for time immemorial and its focus is to inspire these breeders to produce an ever-finer grade of wool year-upon-year. Thanks to Loro Piana's efforts, the competition has continually challenged the notion that wool is both an antiquated and uneconomical material, and has furthermore pushed the boundaries of what a fine wool fabric can be.

Indeed, this year's competition is no exception, and the winning 'record bale' marks yet another a global first; the finest micronage of pure merino wool ever produced. First prize goes to the Australian farm Pyrenees Park, owned by Pamela and Robert Sandlant, who have surpassed their own previous win just last year, gathering an immaculate bale of wool measuring 10.3 microns in fineness. The product of New Zealand based producer Anna Emmerson, who entered a bale measuring 10.6 microns, came a close and equally extraordinary second.

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Aleksandar Cvetkovic

Aleks is Deputy Editor at The Jackal and former staffer at The Rake. He’s long harboured a passion for fine menswear, well-timed dramatic pauses and stiff drinks.