Topical, tropical, topographical

This cloth really puts the local into locally made two-ply tropical worsted. It puts all the other words in there, too, but local is the important one.

It is a worsted — another of those words — made with wool from the flocks of Cheviot sheep across North Yorkshire, and is then combed, washed, and woven in textile facilities dotted along the border of Yorkshires North and West. In fact, it all comes together, from flock to ex-factory, within a radius around the Dales and Moors, of about twenty miles.

And the people doing this — they’re not doing it for some profound sense of terroir or to put back centre-stage northern England’s oldest breed of sheep. Not at all. That the yarn of those Cheviots puts back into play a number of how-things-used-to-be qualities is why: qualities treasured years ago, but these days overlooked. The inherent strength of the fibre, for instance, is three times higher than the norm. You don’t win points in Yorkshire, after all, by being meek or bashful. Significantly above standard likewise is its tensile-strength and abrasion-resistance. Likely to last a lifetime, then, whether you like it or not.

One quality it has that is far, far below the industry standard, meanwhile, is its crease-propensity, which is very low indeed: scrunch the cloth up and, like a newborn lamb, it springs right back into shape. And, just when you think you couldn’t like this material any more, one small final fact is that it is finished — within that minuscule northern perimeter — in facilities which pump into its pipes river water unfiltered from the Yorkshire Dales.

Most pertinent right now, of course, is how cool and breathable it is — be it in the form of a tailored jacket or some shorts. And that is exceedingly. Tropical wool, they call it. Topical.