Wool Alliance for social agency – the diversity of sustainable wool

“Always regard a woollen sweater or shepherd as embodiments of our relationship with our natural and social environment,” says designer Cynthia Hathaway prompting a controversial debate.

She herself has focused on the many, varied sustainable aspects of wool since 2016.To Hathaway the material is far more than a textile resource. Thinking of wool she sees the correlations and interfaces between humans, animals and landscapes. Hathaway is virtually a wool activist: with her projects such as the sweater label Sweat(er) shop and the establishment of the Wool Alliance for Social Agency – WASA, she flags up the many social, cultural, and ecological dimensions of wool.

While Sweat(er)shop has been processing wool into sweaters as a mobile community production line since 2015, WASA was established in 2017 as an international network of various wool stakeholders – from sheep breeders and herdsmen, through fashion designer and social scientists to ecologists and trans-human organisations. Cynthia Hathaway uses her products to create scope for multi-disciplinary exchange with a view to linking and harmonising urban development and rural revitalisation on a global scale.