Alex James, John Smedley and The Campaign for Wool joined forces to launch Wool Week 2016 in style yesterday morning.

Over a champagne brunch at the Jermyn Street store, we previewed of Alex James and John Smedley’s collaborative, limited edition Wool Week sweater and watched a preview of James’ film, Slowing Down Fast Fashion, followed by a Q&A with Fashion Revolution’s Co- Founder Orsola de Castro, John Smedley’s Managing Director Ian Maclean and Alex James, addressing the vital importance of creating a sustainable, accountable fashion industry.


A long time fan, Alex James said that a Smedley have become his uniform of choice when he tours with Blur, so it seams rather fitting that they would collaborate for Wool Week.

Created using John Smedley extra fine Merino wool and featuring Alex’s signature purple touches, the sweater celebrates the sustainable nature of Merino wool and can be bought on line at John Smedley for £160, with all proceeds from the limited edition 150 run, donated to The Princes Trust charity. 



Merino is a dense fleece and highly prized for its softness. To highlight just how sustainable, natural and biodegradable a fabric Merino is, we were treated to the reveal of the garment sustainability test. Just 4 months ago, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Alex James and The Campaign for Wool, chose a John Smedley Merino wool sweater and a synthetic sweater and buried them alongside each other in the grounds of Clarence House. Left to biodegrade and then dug up by James, the results are astounding.

One the left, the Merino wool, Smedley sweater and on the right, the synthetic version.

One the left, the Merino wool, Smedley sweater and on the right, the synthetic version.


The Merino sweater, on the left of the grid, has begun to break down and biodegrade with ease and smelling, as Alex put it, “rather like mushrooms” when it was pulled out of the ground!

On the right we can see the synthetic version, sadly still very much intact. A frightening reminder of the vast problem posed by man made fibres that don’t break down quickly and are destined to clog up landfill sites. An issue of terrifying magnitude and something James addresses unflinchingly in his film, Slowing Down Fast Fashion, of which he hopes will "give people an opportunity to see their options when it comes to choosing long lasting  biodegradable clothing made from fibres such as wool and silk, which, unlike man-made materials, break down quickly and clog up landfill sites indefinitely." As James says, "We all love fashion and the modern mania for fashion is something that needs to be addressed as it affects all our lives".

A sentiment echoed by Ian MacLean, Managing Director of Smedley, who comments, 'I am the father of two growing girls and as I become older, I become aware of the legacy of pollution in all it's forms that we are leaving to the generation that follow us." "I want John Smedley's wool garments to be a more sustainable clothing option and a desirable item for consumers to own. This is why I, and everyone at John Smedley, are very proud to support the aims and actions of The Campaign for Wool."

Sustainable fibre and sustainable fashion as the way forward. We couldn't agree more.

The Campaign for Wool, UK Wool Week, runs from the 10th - 16th October. More information on how to get involved can be found at, Campaign For

Alex James and John Smedley, limited edition Sweater can be purchased here, at John

Slowing Down Fast Fashion, by Alex James, is available on Amazon Prime.