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Isn't wool all scratchy and prickly?

It’s not like the sweater your grandma used to knit.

We measure wool in ‘microns’. Merino wool is very fine and soft, starting at 12 microns and up to 24 microns. To put that into perspective, human hair is around 60 microns. The prickly sweaters your Nan made we probably made using coarser Micron, generally reserved for carpets or those old Army surplus blankets.

Isn’t wool too hot?

No, wool helps to keep you cool. Our regenerative wool is for summer too. Our wool is a technically active fiber, able to react to changes in your body temperature and the environment - insulating you in the cold and managing heat and moisture when you are hot. It is because merino fiber has a hydrophobic (water-repelling) exterior and hydrophilic (water-loving) interior that give it unique moisture management properties, resulting in enhanced comfort, breathability, and performance.

We call this thermo-regulation. It is ultimately buffering you against environmental changes brought on by the seasons. To top it off, through its complex chemical and physical structure, merino fiber resists the development of a proliferation of odor to a much greater extent than synthetic materials or cotton.

Why is ZQ wool this miracle fiber everyone is talking about?

We’re so glad you asked! ZQ Natural Fibre is naturally technical; it moves moisture away from the skin, adapts to warm or cool you according to the conditions, protects you from the sun, is flame resistant, and resists the build-up of odor. Oh, and it’s super soft. Check out theOur Wool page, where we geek out more about wool.

Why is ZQ wool so clean and soft?

We’re glad you asked! Our sheep are primarily raised in New Zealand’s South Island high country, where they graze on native grasses and roam freely in the clean, open environment. 

This natural lifestyle contributes to the quality and softness of the wool produced.

What makes ZQ fiber such high-quality?

Great question. It comes down to the people and animals that create it. Our growers comply with the ZQ Grower Standard, where they uphold standards with pride. The standards demand the best from our growers in animal welfare (think healthy, well-fed sheep!) and environmental practice, resulting in strong, white, long-staple fiber that’s fit for the market it’s grown for. Each fleece is hand selected—every single one. A highly skilled ‘classer’ or ‘wizard of wool’ inspects the fiber’s quality and assesses whether it meets the contract specification. Check out theOur Wool page, where we geek out more about wool.

Are the sheep treated well ?

Healthy sheep naturally produce the best quality fiber. 

ZQ sheep graze on pastures in ‘free range,’ extensive farming conditions in the high country hills of New Zealand. By choosing ZQ products, you can be confident that the sheep producing the wool are humanely treated, well fed, live natural and healthy lives, and not subjected to mulesing. This means you’re also getting fiber of the highest quality and performance.

The ZQ farmers ensure healthy animals by adhering to five fundamental freedoms: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; freedom from fear and distress.

What is the environment like where the sheep live?

All of our ZQ Regenerative Wool is from New Zealand. 

Our sheep thrive in the high-country conditions of the mountainous South Island because Merino’s like the drier in the highlands. They’re also naturally foraging feeders and enjoy a tussock environment. 

Sheep producing a coarser fiber do well on lower lands and are found throughout New Zealand.

What kind of standards are there for the land?

Our growers must have a Land Environmental Plan, which helps them establish ways to sustain their individual property to protect it for today and future generations. Many growers have environmental projects and are passionate about the natural landscape they call home.

Where are the ZQ growers based?

We source our wool from ZQ certified growers from New Zealand. You can check out ourgrower mapfor specific locations on theOn Farmpage.

How are ZQ growers selected?

Our growers are audited regularly and adhere to the ZQ Grower Standard. New growers undergo an initial audit to assess their farming systems. We then work with the grower to help identify improvements their farm may need to carry out, within specific timeframes, before they qualify as ZQ material.

Who does the auditing for ZQ?

 ZQ farms are audited regularly by an independent third-party Certified Accreditation Body (CAB). ZQ currently uses Control Union Certifications and is accredited by:

  • National accreditation bodies, including the Dutch RvA (I192, C412, C490, C499) or the Sri Lankan SLAB (CP 004-01), DakkS
  • Industry accreditation organisations: ASI (ASI-ACC-017), German Accreditation Body, DAkkS
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • ISO 14065, ISO 9001, EN-ISO/IEC 17025 (laboratory)

Does ZQ audit the supply chain too?

ZQ is an on-farm standard that certifies growers to produce and grow wool ethically and sustainably. The ZQ Grower Standard does not extend to certification beyond the farm gate, though we work with them as a brand to align with ZQ values and adhere to a Rules of Engagement agreement.