By Sara Baird
Every time we purchase a product, we have the chance to pause and consider the ecological impact of our purchase. In our busy lives, this can be yet another overwhelming factor to consider. I would like to say I am always aware and make the best choice I can but I definitely can do better on this front. When I received the request to review some products from Isobaa clothing, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to check out products from a company with high standards when it comes to reducing their ecological impact.
Isobaa produces merino clothing designed for active lifestyles from ethically-sourced and Non-mulesed merino wool. They market the clothing by highlighting the odor-free and biodegradable properties of merino wool that allow people to wear the clothing longer and wash them less. They sent me two beautiful t-shirts and a hoodie to try out. These were the Merino 150 Rolled Sleeved Tee in Red, the Merino 150 Short-Sleeved Crew in blue, and a quarter zip hoodie in green. The shirts took a few weeks to arrive and I received the hoodie about a month after the tee shirts because it was back ordered.
What is Mulesing?
Before I could even get started, I needed to conduct a short research project. What does it mean that the wool they use is non-mulesed and why does it matter? Mulesing is a method of protecting lambs from flystrike, a possibly fatal condition that results when a blowfly lies its eggs in the skin of the lamb. Merino lambs are particularly susceptible to this due to the folds in the skin around their tails and breech area. Mulesing eliminates these folds by cutting off a crescent shape of skin to create a smooth scar. This process reduces the susceptibility of flystrike but does not eliminate it. This practice primarily takes place in Australia where the majority of the world’s wool is produced. Advocates against the practice call for a variety of changes ranging from more humane ways to conduct mulesing to breeding practices. The non-mulesed label allows you to choose if you want to support wool producers who do not use this practice.
Looking at Isobaa Clothing up close
The first thing I noticed about these shirts is that they arrived in recyclable packaging without one piece of plastic waste included. The tags were attached with twine and a reusable safety pin. It was apparent that this is a company that is making clear choices on their impact on the environment.
The shirts were rich beautiful colors. The blue crew was very tight fitting, definitely one I would use as an undershirt. My daughter tried it out, she is about two sizes smaller than me and it fitted her beautifully. The rolled sleeve tee and hoodie fit perfectly.
Testing Out The Tee Shirts
The shirts arrived after our camping season so I did not get a chance to use them on a camping trip. I am working at home while our school is in distance learning for a few weeks though, meaning that besides throwing on some makeup to look good on video, I am dressing much like I do when I’m camping and have some freedom in my wardrobe. Isobaa encourages people to wear their clothes longer and wash them less to reduce their environmental impact. I decided I would test one of the shirts by wearing it for a week. During my workdays, I break up my computer work with frequent movement breaks and head out for a walk as soon as my workday is over and found that the shirt was perfect for all these activities even when I broke a sweat.
The shirt was slightly transparent, I would wear a cami under it if I wore it to work, but was comfortable wearing it with a sports bra around the house and in casual settings. The 100% merino wool was soft against my skins and something I really enjoyed wearing. At the end of the week, the shirt still looked great and I was comfortable throwing it on as a base layer for a day of winter hiking. I love how the t-shirt held its shape even after wearing it multiple days. The shirt wicked away moisture and dried quickly when I worked up a sweat and was comfortable when wearing it as a base layer while in the cold weather.
I didn’t even need to try to wear the hoodie for an extended period of time. It is so comfortable that I don’t want to take it off. The fabric is just as soft as the tee-shirts but thicker. The lightweight hoodie is perfect for wearing around the house on winter days and an amazing layer to wear when active outdoors. The fit is form-fitting but not too tight. It will be a perfect layer for chillier days and evenings when camping and I won’t hesitate to wear it on casual days to work.
These shirts are relatively easy to care for. The care directions, printed on the shirt so that they are tag-free, indicates that it should be washed on a gentle cycle and dried flat. Unfortunately, the red shirt snuck its way into a pile of laundry and went unnoticed into the washer and dryer. Thankfully it is colorfast and I did not end up with pink clothes. The shirt shrank in length slightly but is still comfortable and wearable. The blue shirt and the hoodie washed up beautifully and maintained their shape when dried flat. They also dried incredibly fast.
I love these shirts. These would be perfect for traveling, camping, hiking, and even wearing to work. The fabric feels wonderful on your skin, wick away moisture, and dries quickly. Despite my bad luck with the dryer, these are easy to care for. If all of my clothing was made like this it would be much easier to drastically reduce the use of our dryer. I can feel good about supporting Isobaa as they make choices that are both ethically and environmentally sound in both their products and their packaging. I definitely recommend you try their products out. The price can be intimidating but these are well-made products that require less care, meaning you can get away with owning less and count on them lasting longer than the average piece of clothing. If you are in a hurry to receive your items, I would recommend that you inquire about shipping speed before ordering. While the world deals with Covid international shipping is definitely unpredictable so it is hard to know if the length of time it took to get my clothing was typical. For me, it was definitely worth the wait. You can view Isobaa clothing on their website at https://www.isobaa.com/