December 8, 2022

The natural power of wool

For zai, relying on sheared merino wool and combed-out cashmere was evident - rather than synthetically produced fibers or plucked down feathers.

The natural power of wool

Wool, as protection against the cold, has a history of several thousand years. To this day, the natural material twisted and woven into yarn is the first choice for clothes that need to keep warm. For zai, relying on sheared merino wool and combed-out cashmere was evident - rather than synthetically produced fibers or plucked down feathers. There are several reasons for this, from sustainability to feel and insulation performance.

Form and function: material properties

The zai clothing collection was developed and produced with designer Michele Stinco from polychromlab in Serfaus. The result is a collection with the highest demands on the material and functionality. Our requirements for the raw material fibers are:  

- Good thermal insulation for low temperatures on the mountain

- Breathability and comfort for long ski days

- Water and wind resistance in all winter weather conditions

- Sustainability in production and durability

Wool instead of down and synthetic fabrics

Even though down has the best thermal performance compared to its weight, it immediately loses its warming effect when wet. Synthetic fabrics are also lightweight but less comfortable to wear and often not as durable as natural materials. So, we winner quickly determined the winner: So, we quickly determined the winner: The outstanding breathability, the feel, and the sustainability or longevity of the wool convinced us. Merino wool and especially cashmere are incomparably more comfortable on the skin - and the slightly higher weight is negligible for ski equipment.

How does the warmth in merino wool work?

All insulating layers work on the same principle: the enclosed air keeps warm. Wool owes this natural property to the structure and shape of its fibers. Due to the strong crimping, the fibers lie closely on each other and form so-called air chambers, which trap body heat. Thus, the air keeps the body warm, while the breathability transports moisture to the outside.

Intelligent wool

Merino wool is often said to be intelligent. Merino wool and cashmere reliably keep you warm (even when wet) and cool in the heat. In addition, the natural fabric has an antibacterial effect against unpleasant odors. The processed wool falls ideally with every movement without creating annoying noise. We consider wool production to be just as intelligent if it is sustainable, concerned about animal welfare, and the high quality that guarantees longevity.

The interplay of functional layers

With its versatility, wool can be used as a base layer, insulation layer, and weather protection. The zai by zimmerli shirts, the zai midlayer with zai gilet and zai suit are perfectly aligned, the insulation traps almost 85% of the air, and the outer layer withstands up to a water column of 10,000 mm, which is enough for every ski day. The three layers:

1. base layer: the first layer lies directly on the skin and carries sweat outside - merino, silk, and cashmere are ideal for this.  

2. insulation layer: body heat is stored by the insulation material - cashmere and merino perform this task.

3. weather protection: the outermost layer protects against wind, rain, and cold.

zai midlayer
zai gilet
zai suit

Loro Piana: The secret star of Italian fabrics

Anyone who wears the great Italian designers in public - will most likely spend the end of the day and the weekend in a sweater from Loro Piana. The Italian company is known for the highest quality cashmere and merino wool. If you like exclusive wool, you love Loro Piana. Hardly any other company stands so clear for pleasantly soft luxury and exclusivity. The fact that Loro Piana is committed to the quality and fineness of the yarn and high-quality craft, sustainability, and animal welfare makes the soon-to-be 100-year-old company a fitting partner for zai.

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