Local as a fashion change-maker

Hybrid event, 8th June 2022, 17:30-19:30 CET
Online and at Sentralen, Oslo

How can we bring the local alternatives to the forefront of the sustainability debate and in policy?

We have important decisions ahead to ensure a just transition to more sustainable ways of living. The new book “Local, slow and sustainable fashion: wool as a fabric for change” from the clothing research group at Consumption Research Norway SIFO, uses “wool as a lens through which to see important aspects of the contemporary world: corporate capitalism, consumerism, standardisation and their opposites: localised crafts and practices, quality of life, sustainability” (Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen).

The clothing research group’s (world-renowned) wool and clothing research sits within the institute’s important research areas of local consumption and sustainability.

Click here for more information about the book: Local, Slow and Sustainable Fashion | SpringerLink


Doors open at 17:00 CET

17:30: Welcome by Eivind Jacobsen, Institute Director at SIFO

17:35: The editors, Prof. Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Tone Skårdal Tobiasson introduce the book and the authors

17:40: Perspectives from authors and readers of the book, led by the editors:

Prof. Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, UK
Rebecca Burgess, M.Ed.,Executive Director of Fibershed, California
Gunnar Vittersø, Senior researcher at SIFO and the Amazing Grazing Project
Dr. Lorrie Miller, University of British Colombia, Canada
Elisabeth Stray Pedersen, Designer and owner, ESP
Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, Associate Professor, Hanken School of Economics, Finland
Dr. Tone Smith, Member of Advisory board, Rethinking Economics Norway; Editor, Degrowth Norway
Gisle Mariani Mardal, Head of development, Norwegian Fashion & Textile Agenda, Oslo, Norway

18:55- 19:30: Streaming ends – in-person discussions and mingling

Click here to watch the event recording (facebook.com)

Acoustic Performance of Sound Absorbing Materials Produced from Wool of Local Mountain Sheep

Katarzyna Kobiela-Mendrek, Marcin Bączek, Jan Broda, Monika Rom, Ingvild Espelien and Ingun Klepp


Wool of mountain sheep, treated nowadays as a waste or troublesome byproduct of sheep husbandry, was used for the production of sound-absorbing materials. Felts of two different thicknesses were produced from loose fibres. Additionally, two types of yarn,ring-spun and core rug, were obtained. The yarns were used for the production of tufted fabric with cut and loop piles. During the examinations, basic parameters of the obtained materials were determined. Then, according to standard procedure with the use of impedance tube, the sound absorption coefficient was measured, and the noise reduction coefficient (NRC) was calculated. It was revealed that felt produced from coarse wool exhibits high porosity, and its sound-absorbing capacity is strongly related to the felt thickness. For thicker felt the NRC achieved0.4, which is comparable with the NRC of commercial ceiling tiles. It was shown that the crucial parameter influencing the sound absorption of the tufted fabrics was the pile height. For both types of yarns, when the height of the pile was increased from 12 to 16 mm, the NRC increased from 0.4 to 0.42. The manufactured materials made from local wool possess good absorption capacity, similar to commercial products usually made from more expensive wool types. The materials look nice and can be used for noise reduction as inner acoustic screens, panels, or carpets.

Click here to read the full article (mdpi.com).

From burial urns to surfboards – wool can be used to make just about anything

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Anna Schytte Sigaard.

OPINION: There’s no such thing as bad wool, only bad use.

In the Norwegian folk song Kråkevisa (The Crow Song), a man-made everything from a boat, to windows, to barrels of meat and fat from a bird he shot. There is a lot to learn from this – did you know that anything from burial urns, flowerpots, and surfboards to sanitary towels and diapers can be made from wool?

Wool can replace plastic

Poland is one of many EU countries where little or none of the wool produced is actually used. The Polish-Norwegian research project WOOLUME is working towards better utilisation of this resource, wool from Polish Mountain sheep. A new report from the project shows that anything from gardening products to insulation to personal hygiene products, as well as burial urns, coffins and surfboards are now being made of wool and has the potential to be made from the wool that is currently being thrown away in Poland and other EU countries, and that we call vacant wool. The products utilise the natural properties of wool, such as biodegradability, moisture absorbance, temperature regulation and nutritional content.

Several of these products, such as sanitary towels and diapers, are predominantly made of plastic. Microplastic pollution from the production, use and disposal of synthetic materials is a major environmental problem. According to the new national strategy on plastics, Norway alone emits an estimated 1017 tonnes of microplastics annually. Reducing the use of plastic we have little control over, such as in clothing and single-use products like sanitary towels and diapers, is therefore urgent. Wool is biodegradable and if not contaminated with toxic chemicals, wool products can be used as a fertilizer, for soil improvement or be composted after use.

Click here to read the full op-ed (sciencenorway.no)

New book on local and sustainable clothes

Explores the importance of local practices in achieving global sustainability.

This is a book about one fibre, wool, its role in the future of a more sustainable global textile industry, and a new approach to how we can organize how we use local resources in a better way.

Why is this important?

Because of the overload and pressure on land, oil reserves, chemicals, water and more for producing clothes that are thrown away after too few uses, or not used at all—must stop. A sector with such a gross over-production and over-consumption of finite resources has an enormous potential to improve its footprint. We have chosen the lens of wool, as it is the fibre we know the best and which is Indigenous to our home country, Norway.

About the book

Klepp, Ingun Grimstad and Tobiasson, Tone Skårdal (eds.): Local, Slow and Sustainable Fashion. Wool as a Fabric for Change. Palgrave Macmillan 2022

The book is available from the publisher as e-book and traditional book (springer.com).

Ingun Grimstad Klepp is Professor of Clothing and Sustainability at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson is a seasoned journalist and editor, and founder of Nordic Initiative Clean & Ethical Fashion.


“This book is a tour de force and a heart-on-sleeve exploration of how a familiar fibre can radically change the fashion and sustainability story.”

Professor Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, UK

“The authors of this fascinating book use wool as a lens through which to see important aspects of the contemporary world: corporate capitalism, consumerism, standardisation and their opposites: localised crafts and practices, quality of life, sustainability. Readable, enlightening and engaged, this book is fuelled by a passion for wool and expertly weaves, spins, cards and knits the small and the large scale, contributing not only to our knowledge about fabrics and sustainability, but also adds depth to our understanding of globalisation.”

Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, Norway

Woolume: Potential new products from vacant wool

Anna Schytte Sigaard, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Ingun Grimstad Klepp


This report gives an overview of the market for alternative wool products with the perceived potential to be made using vacant wool. The work is based on a desktop study and interviews with manufacturers and distributors, focusing on products made of wool and their qualities. The report is the second deliverable from work package 2 of the WOOLUME project. The main goal of WOOLUME is to explore different ways of using wool from the Polish Mountain Sheep to achieve better utilisation of resources and value creation. Producers were identified that use wool as a material for products in the following categories: cultivation, soil improvement, insulation and personal hygiene as well as other new and alternative wool products. Findings show a range of products that take advantage of the many properties of wool, both aesthetic and technical. They also show that wool has the potential to replace synthetic materials in several applications and create truly circular products when treated in a way that preserves biodegradability. Though Merino wool dominates the wool market, several producers make use of other, local wool qualities and the interest for using the vacant wool, often discarded as a mere by-product of meat and dairy production, is growing. However, there is further potential for optimising resource utilisation in using vacant wool, in particular, non-spinnable wool with a higher fibre thickness, in products where the fineness and spinnability of merino wool are not required.

Click here to read the full report (oslomet.no).

Responsible Fashion: How do we make our ideas a reality?

Symposium hosted by Instituto Maragoni, London

24th November 2021, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm GMT

This online symposium offers a space to propose and discuss radical new ways to envisage fashion and how these may be implemented.

About this event

The pandemic has provided space to step back and to reflect, to ask questions about the meaning, value and potential of fashion in a post-Covid world. How can the industry move forward in a responsible way? How must it change? What does responsible fashion really mean? What is it that we actually want to sustain? We know the problems, so let’s find solutions.

We will present our work with wool during the symposium.

Click here to see the recordings from the event (researchiml.com).

WOOLUME: Mapping the market for acoustic and sound absorbing products made of wool

Anna Schytte Sigaard and Vilde Haugrønning


This report is the first deliverable from work package 2 of the WOOLUME project. The main goal of WOOLUME is to
explore different ways of using wool from Polish Mountain Sheep to achieve better utilisation of resources and value
creation. The aim of the report has been to map the market for acoustic and sound absorbing products made of wool to
examine the potential to introduce coarse wool as a material. This has been done through desktop research and
interviews with a focus on the qualities of wool as a natural product. Findings show that though man-made materials
dominate the market for acoustic products due to lower prices, wool is preferred as a material due to its natural
properties as well as aesthetics. Producers using wool consider their products to be high-end, intended for people who
want very good quality products and who are willing to pay a higher price to achieve this. However, few producers use
coarse wool in these products, and many are made of pure Merino wool. Using Merino wool which is often considered
of very fine quality due to the low micron-count does not correspond with the ideal of good utilisation of resources.
Therefore, we are proposing to utilise coarse wool which today is discarded as a mere by-product to meat-production.
Merino could instead be used for products where fineness and softness are important factors such as for clothing. In
addition, we argue for the rawness and uniqueness of the look of coarse wool as positive in terms of aesthetics and as
something that adds to the position of acoustic products made of wool as high-end.

Click here to read the full report (oda.oslomet.no).