Raf Simons

FEELING SHEEPISH: Raf Simons has forged a partnership with The Woolmark Co. for the development and marketing of his fall 2017 men’s collection that will be shown during New York Fashion Week: Men’s on Feb. 1. The collection is to feature merino wool jersey, wovens and knits sourced from manufacturers including Manifattura SESIA and Olimpias Group.

”I appreciate that The Woolmark Co. encourages brands to come up with innovative ways to work with Merino wool — a material that I love and often use in my own collections,” Simons said.

Stuart McCullough, managing director of Woolmark, said Simons would help “demonstrate the distinct versatility of merino wool far beyond its traditional positioning in the suiting market.”

As part of the partnership, Woolmark will continue to work closely with Simons’ design team to support innovations and sourcing of merino wool. Merino wool pieces from Simons’ collection will be Woolmark-certified with the Woolmark logo, which is part of its quality assurance program, he said. Further, Simons will gain access to Woolmark’s resources around the world including mills, Australian sheep farms and various research and development innovations. Woolmark, in turn, will gain a brand partner who is committed to merino wool in fashion garments, McCullough said. The partnership allows Simons first access to innovations with merino wool for his upcoming collections.

Woolmark has a range of brand partners ranging from women’s wear designers such as Jason Wu to sports and outdoor partners such as Burton Snowboards.