Innovation That Matters

A million sheep, a million stories

Fashion & Beauty

We’ve written about product life story labels on goods ranging from bananas to jewelry, and a few weeks ago a new example emerged from the world of apparel: New Zealand merino wool clothing company Icebreaker now allows customers to trace each garment they buy back to the sheep stations where the merino fibre was grown. Back in 1997 Icebreaker started buying its merino wool direct from growers, a system it says was a first in the industry. Beginning last month, it began including on most Icebreaker garments an internal label bearing a unique ‘Baacode’ number. By following the instructions on an attached swingtag, customers can enter that code on the Icebreaker website and trace the wool in their garment through to its origins on the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Icebreaker sources its pure merino wool from more than 120 sheep stations and over 1 million sheep; through photos and video, customers can see the living conditions of the particular animals that produced their wool, meet the high country farmers who run the sheep stations, and follow the production process to the factories that knit, dye, finish, cut, manufacture and ship the garments. “For us, sustainability is about transparency and being able to show the whole design of the business, which starts with the growers and continues through every step of the supply chain,” explains Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker’s founder and CEO. That’s transparency triumph, and it’s coming soon to an industry near you–if it hasn’t already. Woe to the company that’s still trying to hide behind an army of middlemen! (Related: Full provenance sweatersDole’s product life story labelsA status story for spinach) Spotted by: Sven Ericksen



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