Wool-ovation

Companies like Allbirds and Icebreaker have experienced worldwide success, and now, we've partnered with the New Zealand Merino Company to find New Zealand's next wool product. We're calling for designers, innovators, and people with ideas to submit a commercially viable product made from wool and win the chance to bring it to life, as well as a prize worth $7000.

Wool-ovation

Competition

Idealog is one of the few media brands dedicated to celebrating New Zealand’s special brand of creativity. The New Zealand Merino Company has helped transform the sheep industry from a faceless commodity into a supplier for premium global brands. So, like Allbirds and Icebreaker are to merino farmers, we've teamed up to to celebrate the opening of its Studio ZQ innovation space in Christchurch and our design community’s talents by asking our audience to design a product that harnesses the potential of strongwool. The winner will win two all-expenses paid trips worth more than $7000: a five-day trip to Christchurch to develop their idea, and a five-day trip to San Francisco, USA to meet with US-based innovation experts. Read on to find out more.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what advertising, design and digital agency Special Group came up with: a Merino typeface, and Port-a-Cloud, a portable cloud on a stick.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what interdisciplinary design studio Isthmus came up with – comfort felt.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what Virtuo came up with – a replacement for circuit boards, CarbonWool.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what wool product company Naturesclip came up with – a replacement for bubble wrap, OceanWool.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what Papertowns Design Studio up with – a Wool Rugby Ball.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what furniture designer David Trubridge up with – a lantern made of wool and hemp.

The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what digital agency Method came up with – an interactive wallpaper, Woolpaper.

Creativity Month

It’s time for New Zealand’s entrepreneurs to remove the wool from their eyes and see the many potential uses for our own natural fibres, New Zealand Merino Company says. While companies like Allbirds and Firewire Surfboards are paving the way for innovative ways to use wool, to help fast-track the revival of this material, the organisation has opened an innovation space in the heart of Christchurch city to develop creative business ideas and encourage more wool and fibre-based businesses to arise in Aotearoa. We chat with CEO John Brakenridge about the opportunity for the both the start-up sector and the agriculture industry.

Good wool hunting

Tauranga based surfboard shaper and tinkerer, Paul Barron, has engineered a new way to use wool – to make surfboards – which has led to a partnership with US-based Firewire Surfboards, owned by surfing sage Kelly Slater. Additionally, Barron has partnered with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) to develop a new wool composite technology that could revive the global wool market. It rides the wave of other companies turning wool into innovative products, namely Allbirds, which has made a killing turning the ubiquitous material into shoes.

Big deal

Icebreaker has been sold to US-based footwear and apparel retailer VF Corporation, which also owns the likes of Timberland, Vans, Wrangler, Lee Jeans, and The North Face. We're republishing this story about Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon and chairperson Rob Fyfe's vision of a $1 billion brand.

Taking flight

Rave reviews, impressive sales, celebrity endorsements, a Purple Pin at the Best Awards … The Wool Runner from Allbirds has tapped into the growing desire for ‘anonymous luxury’ and is riding a wave of popularity. But it’s no overnight success. In the presence of about seven years’ worth of prototypes, co-founder Tim Brown and designer Jamie McLellan tell Ben Fahy about the long and winding road they had to travel to bring their vision to life.