Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

Is there a market for wool suits that are washable?

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Washable wool suits with finest material and craftsmanship are very popular among men. Many Australian and Chinese companies are now introducing machine washable new blend of wool suits for increasing the sale of these suits among professionals. In 2005, a Chinese businessman and movie star in joint venture with Helain Group introduced washable wool blend suits with high quality, special performance and easy care. Helian group is China’s one the largest manufacturers and retailers of menswear. They have around more than 250 retail shops in all over China and production of 3 million per year (Yin introduces, 2005)

These suits were made with special blended material to maintain their style and shape even after machine wash. Retailers have always been interested in buying and merchandising washable wool suits to enhance their sales and popularize their use among new generation.

Washable wool suits are marketed in key regions of China and Australia and displayed at several trade shows and exhibitions in retail stores. Washable wool suits, which were introduced in China, were made with Australian Marino wool. As these suits were introduced it was expected that demand for Australian Marino wool will increase. These wool suits were specifically introduced for increased performance and new innovative styles (Yin introduces, 2005).

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In 2003, Australian company AWI and Berkeley were the first to develop the technology of these suits. Later these were introduced in China in order to increase demand for Australian wool. Currently China is the largest buyer of Australian wool. Washable wool suits are also becoming popular among other Asian countries.

According to Furong, President of Heilan, introduction of machine washable wool blend suits has put Heilan group at edge of others and a major step in improving their market share.  In addition, he believes that the suits they produced were easy to care, easy washable, convenience and cost effective and has huge market potential in China (Yin introduces, 2005).

The need for machine washed and dried suits was also felt among American and UK professionals. Men are usually looking for suits that can be machine washed, dried and can be worn without the needed of ironing. However, one problem they face is wrinkles that appear soon after machine wash ruining the expensive fine suit. The second thing of concern to men is the need of well creased and pressed suits during their jobs and business meetings. Young professionals are more interested in having such suits.

For some people suits are not just for convenience but they are worn to increase your reputability and status while you work among the company of respectable people, as noticed by a fashion historian, Anne Hollander (Rohwedder, 2006). Many professionals prefer machine wash than going to dry cleaner because its easy, fast and cost effective for them.

“Kenny Cook, a 37-year-old desk clerk for Royal Mail in London, plans to buy one of the new suits for a friend's wedding later this month. Mr. Cook says he eats lunch at his desk and often drops a piece of his sandwich on his suits. ‘I can't be bothered to go to the dry cleaners,’ says Mr. Cook. ‘But I've mastered a washing machine.’” (Rohwedder, 2006)

According to a report the new machine washable and dryer-friendly wool suits are made with 45% wool, 52% polyester and 3% lycra. That prevents wool to become as a wet as in its original form. Sale of such suits is also going high in UK and USA. However, most men think that these suits are not very hot, scratchy or shiny (Rohwedder, 2006). US retailers like Nordstorn Inc think that wash and dry suits is a great innovation and needs more development.

But Catherine Hayward who is director of fashion design at British magazine thought that there is no need to have machine washable suits as these are needed to work at reputable organizations not for gardening or meat market (Rohwedder, 2006). However, different people have different thinking and many have considered a need for machine washable suits. Sales in China, USA, UK, and even in other Asian countries is gradually increasing.

Works Cited

Australia : Yin introduces Heilan’s washable wool blend suits (2005) . Retrieved from World Wide Web: http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=10076 

Beyond the Bale - Issue 16 - Wool Suits Chinese Buyers.

Suitable Attire? Suit Goes in Washer, Dryer, But Traditionalists Recoil: 'This is the Antichrist' (2006) Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114548666330130509.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

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