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Biodegradable, sustainable local fashion

Polo South Africa’s collaboration with Gerber & Co means living the mantra ‘buy classic, buy natural, buy long-lasting’ becomes easier to achieve.

‘We have long supported natural fibre,’ says Alia Peer, creative director of POLO South Africa. ‘Soft, durable, thermally efficient and totally biodegradable Merino wool is a sustainable choice, and South Africa is one of the world’s top producers. But we have to export the bulk of our quality raw wool for processing before we can produce a garment here. We wanted to celebrate this incredible local resource by investing in a fully traceable homegrown project.’ In wool producer, Stefan Gerber of Gerber &Co., Peer found the ideal partner, and earlier this year they launched the POLO South African Merino menswear capsule collection, featuring a fully traceable farm-to-closet supply chain that is 100% local – no middle man and not a thing imported.

‘Our Merino sheep are raised and shorn in Namaqualand,’ says Gerber. ‘The wool is then washed, spun, dyed and woven in our Paarl factory before being manufactured to POLO’s design in Cape Town.’

Currently two jumper styles are available in a neutral palette. The wool is certified internationally by the Responsible Wool Standard, and locally by the Sustainable Cape Wool Standard of South Africa. Each garment is labelled with its ‘wool vintage’, recording the date and place the wool was shorn.

‘If well looked after, this garment should last years,’ says Peer. ‘But if and when you have to discard, it will not only biodegrade but, being a nutrient-rich fibre, it will actually feed the soil.’ Whether you feed the soil, or a good cause like your local charity shop, this is one guilt-free purchase.


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