Double, Double, Boil and Trouble: A Look into Boiled Wool

May 19, 2017

The Rosenrot

Comme des Garcons Infinity of Tailoring Ribbt Let's get technical and talk about fabric. After all, I am in the business of fashion retail, not just philosophical rants and airing of capitalist grievances. One of the most commonly used fabric by Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto is boiled wool. Just what on earth is it and what makes it different from other wools? Wearing: Comme des Garçons suit; Alexander Wang shirt; Ann Demeulemeester boots As the name suggests, boiled wool is wool fabric that has been submerged and agitated in boiling water. While many types of wool can be boiled to add this practical qualities, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto's go-to formula is almost always 90% wool and 10% nylon. The surface is matted, or what I'd call slightly hairy, with soft little tufts that you can see up close. This process of boiling wool causes the fabric to shrink because the fibres become more compact. It increases the density of weaves as they are wound tighter, trapping air molecules between them. The air bubbles keep the fabric warm yet breathable. And because of the tighter weaves, boiled wool is surprisingly waterproof, which means that it sloughs off water droplets like a champ. The end result is that you get soft, light wools that are useful for inconvenient transitional weathers.