The Woolmark Co. said today that it has launched its global “Live and Breathe” campaign, which seeks to ignite younger generations’ interest in merino wool’s naturally sustainable qualities, such as breathability, odor control and moisture management. Aimed at the athletic and outdoor wear markets, Live and Breathe intends to posture the material as the “original” performance fiber, the firm said.

Its initiative is centered on a film that “tells the story of a synthetic world that has forgotten how to live naturally,” according to Woolmark. Throughout the month of September, its campaign will launch across social and outdoor spaces in New York, San Francisco, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, offering tailored opportunities for influencers and consumers to “wear-test the latest commercially available wool performance products,” the company explained. The Live and Breathe campaign features brand partners such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Erin Snow, Siki Im, Smartwool, Hoka One One, Aclima and Gabriela Hearst.

The firm said “comfort and breathable” are the most important attributes people look for when buying sportswear, which is the fastest-growing sector of the $1.7 trillion global textile business.” Wool is 100 percent natural, renewable, biodegradable and the most reused, recycled apparel fiber on the planet, according to Woolmark, which describes it as an “active fiber” that reacts to changes in body temperature. It’s true that the material is highly versatile: In warm environments, wool has the ability to feel up to two times cooler to touch than synthetic fibers, due to its innate ability to move heat away from the skin. In addition, “wool can absorb up to 35 percent of its weight before feeling wet and clinging to the skin; a significant benefit in wearing wool versus nylon or polyester gear during physical exercise,” the company noted.

The Woolmark Co.’s managing director, Stuart McCullough, said, “The rapid growth in demand for technical textiles has significantly boosted merino wool’s prominence in the sportswear industry due to the fiber’s naturally inherent qualities. Wool, once the fiber of choice for athletes worldwide, was challenged by the rise of man-made fibers. A new generation of consumers are now expecting more from their purchases and merino wool’s combined performance properties and eco-credentials are primed to meet these expectations.”

McCullough added, “The Woolmark Company’s global campaign reminds consumers of wool’s natural benefits, which cannot be matched by any other fiber. The campaign features a carefully curated selection of some of the most technically advanced and innovative wool and wool-rich garments commercially available on the market today.”