Woolmark

Yesterday, at Narciso Rodriguez’s show, close readers of show notes might have noticed a little symbol next to many of the look descriptions in his running list: the Woolmark swirl. It’s the latest example of what seems to me a growing trend of industry suppliers coming out from behind the curtain to promote, publicly, their raw materials as luxury brands in themselves – the luxury behind branded luxury if you will. Aside from Woolmark, the World Gold Council has also launched an up with gold initiative (that’s me paraphrasing), both along the lines of what Saga furs and Swarovski did before them. Want to know why you see what you see on the catwalk? Cherchez les suppliers! 

Stuart McCullough, the CEO of Woolmark, wants to relaunch wool as a brand. A luxury brand. Woolmark, of course, is already a logo, and there are unquestionably luxury fibres (see cashmere, vicuna, silk), but to turn a fibre itself into a brand seems like – well, a challenge. Isn’t it a material? Can materials be brands? Is this the ultimate example of the contemporary belief that everything, but everything – people, dogs, washing machines – can be a brand? Maybe. But the does have two recent developments going for him.