Cashmere may once have been the go-to for luxurious clothing that is soft, warm and looks great but there’s a new contender on the market that is threatening to take its crown. Possum merino is a blend of the finest merino wool and soft New Zealand possum fur, which is 35% warmer than cashmere (whilst still retaining that silky softness) and 50% warmer than merino alone. Intrigued? What to know more? Our guide to the whys, whats and wherefores of possum merino should answer all your questions...
The incredible warmth of possum fur and merino wool combined
Possum fur is so warm it doesn’t freeze - the only fur other than polar bear fur that can boast such an attribute! Its hollow structure is to thank for this, a feature which, like merino, also traps warmth to keep you toasty, making it one of the best insulating fibres in the world. Possum merino is also incredibly versatile, keeping you warm in the winter and even continuing to create heat when wet, yet its breathability means that it functions well in warmer weather too.
Powers of durability
Possum fibres are stretchy, giving them a resistance to breaking and, combined with merino, the fabric will remain pill-free and anti-static. New Zealand possum fur in particular has a long life expectancy as it doesn’t shed, ensuring it keeps that plush, new-looking texture and feel.
As soft and light as silk
The hollow nature of possum fur and super-fine merino wool makes possum merino 14% lighter than wool, a figure which gives it the distinction of being one of the most lightweight natural fibre fabrics in the world. It is also incredibly soft, hugging the skin without itching or irritating it in any way.
Both merino wool and possum fur wick moisture away from the body and release it into the air, giving the garment added comfort and ensuring it resists odours.
A resourceful solution to an environmental challenge
For those who may worry that wearing fur supports a cruel industry, it is important to note that possums are an introduced species which threaten New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. Unlike in their native Australia, possums have no natural predators in New Zealand and have therefore been able to breed unchecked, leading to astronomical numbers of the creatures. Their fondness for unique native trees, the eggs and chicks of endangered birds, and insects which form a vital part of the diet of many of the country’s endangered birds, is having disastrous consequences.
21,000 tons of vegetation are demolished by possums each night and native bird life is being driven to the point of extinction. As a result, the New Zealand government has declared possums a serious threat to the country’s biodiversity and an official pest, and has begun measures to eradicate them. Possum fur is most often a by-product of the government’s cull on the animals, the majority of which are left simply to rot in the bush.
Clothing crafted from possum merino blends may still be emerging from their infancy but it won’t be long until the rest of the world catches on to this luxuriously soft yet durable fabric. Cashmere is so last season.
The New Zealand Nature Company have a large variety of possum merino clothing available for sale on their website. NZ Nature are a mail order and internet shop selling their goods all around the world to over 70 countries. There are over 1,000 products online include ranges of clothing in Silk, Bamboo, Possum Merino and Pure Merino. Sheepskin boots and slippers are complemented by natural bedding and bodycare.