Technical qualities

What is Possumdown?

Possumdown is a unique blend of yarn including New Zealand brushtail possum fur and super fine New Zealand merino lamb’s wool.

 

The fibre and its qualities

Mother nature gave the brushtail possum a secret weapon against the cold. A secret only shared with their cousins the polar bear. And that weapon is something best seen under a microscope. Despite each fur fibre only being 16-18 microns thick, each and every one of those minute fibres is hollow! This means every single fibre has a pocket of air which is like a self insulating armour. So when you wear Possumdown you end up with a unique and amazing force field against the cold.

But not only is Possumdown about the warmest knitwear fibre of it’s kind on the planet, it is also a great deal lighter and less bulky than merino making it the preference for travelers and adventure seekers who need to travel light.

And although merino is known for it’s amazing waterproofing and wicking properties, (wicking draws moisture away from the skin) the possum fur in Possumdown makes our garments even more waterproof than merino. The performance of this super fur in extreme conditions is why so many skiers, hikers and adventurers wear Possumdown.

And as garments for the elderly or the unwell, Possumdown is perfect. Superior warmth, dryness and softness make our socks and gloves ideal for diabetes sufferers and those with poor circulation. Can’t get warm? Aching lower back where the cold seeps in? Try Possumdown!

Possumdown is incredibly soft. Brushtail possum fur is similar in softness to angora and cashmere and is combined with the softness of only pure NZ merino lambs wool. If you can’t wear merino on its own, try wearing Possumdown, it may surprise you. People who can’t wear merino report being able to wear Possumdown even against bare skin.

 

Hand processed fur versus other processes

Hand gathered fur is completely natural, ecologically sustainable and produces the longest and softest staple. Possumdown uses only hand gathered fur and this is a very important factor in assuring the quality and longevity of your garment as we explain below.

Possumdown is the only possum/merino knitwear company to own it’s own fur gathering company. This means we know where our fur comes from which gives us a greater level of quality assurance.

Our professional fur graders inspect the fur for suitability. Samples are tested for contaminants, moisture content, the presence of foreign matter and other signs of fur distress that are noticeable only to the professional grader’s eye. Fur distress is commonly caused by harsh processing involving machinery and/or chemicals. Mechanically and chemically processed fur has a commercial advantage but these processes cause damage resulting in inferior fur. A bit like chemicals, heat and abrasion damage our own hair.

Just like sheep, brushtail possum fur has different qualities depending on which part of the body it comes from. Inferior fur gathering techniques result in a haphazard mixture of shorter and coarser fur. For example the fur is longer and softer on the back but coarser and shorter around the backside. So fur from the brushtail’s backside is a bit like sheep crutchings! Just like the wool industry crutchings are only used in inferior product.

Whilst damaged or shorter fur fibres may not be visible to the untrained eye, yarn spun with distressed fur breaks down more readily, in turn compromising the strength of the garment. This can lead to the garment falling out of shape, pilling and wearing thin prematurely. This is why you may find other possum/merino garments wearing faster in areas like elbows and heels.

Our grader or ‘Fur Doctor’ has been grading possum fur for 26 years. He is considered by many to be the top brushtail possum fur grader in the world and is one of perhaps only half a dozen people with any type of similar skill. The Fur Doctor works exclusively for Possumdown.

  

Eco Friendly

Chemical and mechanical processes are also harsher on the very environment we want to protect!

 

Eco Luxury Fur helps save NZ plants and wildlife

Whilst the brushtail possum exists in pest proportions in New Zealand, the fur remains a renewable resource. Introduced from Australia by early settlers, the numbers of brushtail possums multiply exponentially in their non-native environment where the climate is ideal, food is abundant and no natural predators exist. The New Zealand bush is in many places so wild, uninhabitable and dense that the New Zealand Government resort to controlling numbers by baiting and doing aerial poison drops which in turn poison waterways and other wild life. Poison does not differentiate between pests and protected wildlife such as kiwis, tuis and native fish.

Hand gathering the fur is environmentally friendly and provides support for New Zealand’s endangered wild life, helping to reduce numbers in this way encourages fewer poison drops.

New Zealand is the only place in the world that the fibre can be harvested so it remains extremely scarce on a global basis, making it the pink diamond of the eco-luxury fur world.

 

Design Inspiration

Our designers travel and gather creative input from around the world. Design input comes from many places including from our sister city Shinagawa, Tokyo in preparation for our next exciting new range release.

 

Bespoke Designs

Whilst the cost of designing individual garments can be prohibitive, foreign exchange rates may make this a viable option for the astute fashion designer who wishes to take their range to wild and wonderful places.

Possumdown is uniquely New Zealand.

Design and set up fees apply. Please email emma@possumdown.co.nz for further information.

 

Bulk Orders – Contract Work – Agencies & Distributors

If you’d like to place a bulk order let us help make it easy for you as we have experience with shipping around the world.

Possumdown’s Mother company Tapestry Knitwear can also produce a complete range of knitwear of all fibres and yarns on a contract basis.

Or if you’re interested in becoming an agent or distributor for Possumdown there may be opportunities in your area.

Contact us for more information.

 

 

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