An advertisement for Super.Natural outdoor apparel in a recent Australian edition of Women’s Fitness magazine underlines several interesting trends. First, performance apparel for active pursuits, with a cross-over to lifestyle wear, continues to grow in popularity. Second is the focus on the benefits of natural fibres – in this case, wool. And lastly, though much less apparent from the ad, is the emergence of house brands of Asian manufacturers who have honed their skills for a decade or more as sub-contractors to big Western firms.
Announced in May, the Super.Natural Australian Merino sports collection is exclusive to Rebel Sport, a big Australian retailer with 90 stores across the country. The range consists of tops, tees, tanks, hoodies, pants and leggings. Most are 50/50 blends of merino wool and polyester. The hoodies and tights have a slightly altered blend, which can include polyamide and lycra.
The collection has the look and feel of a lifestyle range. One of the faces of the collection is Kyly Clarke, a television presenter, model and actress who is married to Australian cricketing great, Michael Clarke. That said, Rebel Sport has also asked a number of athletes, including Shannon McCann, a 2 x Australian National Champion at the 100 Metre Hurdles, to test the gear. The reviews have been positive.
In addition, the Super.Natural Australian Merino sports collection has been certified with the Woolmark logo, a trademark of Australian Wool Innovation Limited, which operates a global program to ensure the wool fibres being used meet exacting quality and performance standards. Much of the advert focuses on the benefits and performance expectations of wool, including its antibacterial properties that make it odour-free, breathable and with an ability to regulate temperature. The polyester adds durability and assists with moisture wicking.
While Rebel Sport is promoting the Super.Natural brand and Merino sports collection in Australia, Super.Natural has a wider audience, particularly in Europe, with its headquarters based just outside Munich, Germany. The brand, however, is owned by Shanghai Challenge Textile Co., Ltd. Shanghai Challenge was established in China back in 2001 and has been manufacturing cutting-edge fabrics for Icebreaker, Nike Golf and Nike Sports Wool, and is an important manufacturing partner to Polartec.
The Super.Natural Australian Merino sports collections can be found exclusively at Rebel Sport. Prices range from $39.99 for women’s tank tops and tees up to $84.99 for men’s sweat pants.
Featured Photos: Super.Natural, AWI and Rebel Sport Media Images