The Story of Wool

Master Tailor Andrew Ramroop Celebrates Wool with Two Herds of Sheep on Savile Row, 5th of October 2015

Andrew Ramroop on Savile Row during Wool Week 2015 plus model wearing his innovative Icelandic Inspired coat

Andrew Ramroop on Savile Row during Wool Week 2015 plus model wearing his innovative Icelandic Inspired coat

The elegance and sophistication of an expertly crafted, handmade suit belies the story of the fabric from which most suits are made, wool. One of the oldest fabrics known to man, wool has in fact been used and appreciated for its many qualities since the Stone Age. It continues to be prized today, remaining on the catwalk and under the tailor's needle alike. It is even worn by astronauts in space!

By way of celebration the Master Tailor and Principal of the Savile Row Academy, Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE of Savile Row tailors Maurice Sedwell, will be promoting the story of wool along with The Campaign For Wool and two herds of sheep on 5th October 2015!

100% natural, wool is a renewable, biodegradable all-weather fabric. It's a natural insulator, has incredible resistance to tearing, natural elasticity, and the ability to keep its shape. Not only this but it has excellent odour reduction properties, it can absorb moisture without feeling wet and it is flame retardant. It's no wonder that it's a substance which mankind has used for thousands of years, and continues to use both everyday and in extreme conditions such as by polar scientists and mountain climbers.

Andrew Ramroop, the only tailor in history to be conferred a Visiting Professor for 'Distinction in the Field of Tailoring' by the University of the Arts London (home to the famous London College of Fashion where he studied) explains why wool means so much to him that he's lending his support to The Campaign For Wool. "In my experience pure wool gives the wearer all the values in luxury, style and comfort. Wool is durable, comfortable and has the unique quality of being thermal; in that it is cool in the summer and warm in winter. As every suit is hand-made, the suit starts its life as a flat piece of cloth to be created for a human figure; We cut and mould the cloth into a three-dimensional form to look smooth and stylish. Only pure wool has the qualities to be moulded successfully."

Andrew Ramroop's innovative, ultra bespoke Icelandic coat made for #woolweek

Wool is not only a terribly versatile fabric, it is a valuable one too. Roman Emperors cherished British woollen cloth, which was already being traded by 55 BC when the Romans invaded Britain. By the Middle Ages over half of Europe's economy was based on wool, with monasteries raising flocks of sheep for wool production. Huge wealth was gained through exporting wool, which kings and ministers took advantage of for the power it gave them over wool towns and the woollen industry. Over the centuries English looms achieved and maintained an international reputation.

Today there are roughly 30 million sheep in the UK, and British breeds are celebrated around the world thanks to the skill of British sheep breeders across the generations who have continued to increase the suitability of sheep's wool for Man's needs. Qualities such as shrink resistance, durable creasing and pleating, mothproofing, shower-proofing and stain-proofing have all been improved by careful breeding. Many woollen products can even be machine washed and tumble dried.

Now, British wool is finer than it has ever been, although the wool used in Savile Row's finest suits is a far cry from its Stone Age equivalent. Wool remains a key ingredient of high fashion and the timeless style of suits such as those made on Savile Row by tailors such as Andrew Ramroop, but it is also used in widely varying ways such as in high performance technical clothing, in audio speakers and to absorb noise and odours in heavy machinery. It can even be used as a fertiliser and it has been discovered that it improves the qualities of Kevlar when they are blended together, the synthetic fabric often used in body armour.

Modern science has embraced this age old substance, while Savile Row tailors have been valuing it since the late 18th Century. For Andrew Ramroop there is, of course, no greater fabric. He explains it's fundamental role in the experience of having a Savile Row suit made at Maurice Sedwell, "At Maurice Sedwell one does not 'buy a suit' one commissions a sartorial image. Firstly, the customer should speak with an experienced tailor – not a salesman! The tailor's vast experience would ask the right questions, determine the purpose the suit is required for and guide him or her in the right direction. It is of paramount importance the suit is made of pure new wool, because wool is durable, comfortable and lasts for decades. Pure wool surpasses every other fabric for fine men's bespoke tailoring."

On 5th October 2015 Andrew Ramroop OBE of Savile Row tailors Maurice Sedwell, will be joining in the celebration of wool with The Campaign For Wool and two herds of sheep! Marking the beginning of UK Wool Week 2015 two sheep breeds will be grazing on Savile Row in a celebration of wool as the cloth of choice for menswear. Andrew Ramroop and Maurice Sedwell would like to invite all suit and wool lovers to join them!