Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

What's better than a fashionably timeless, super-soft merino wool sweater in the proper fit and feel for Canada's climate?

Two sweaters, specially-treated, and cut of the same cloth—made of highly-durable yarn you can actually put through the wash.

Introducing the Vallier men's and women's Galway and Faroe Merino Wool Sweaters, the carefully selected knits of our inaugural Fall-Winter 2019 Collection in a material that’s increasingly in demand. We'd consider them standouts of seasonal fashion, but the classics are also meant to help you blend into both casual and sophisticated settings—in line with our approach to better urban living.

What truly helps separate these sweaters from your 'normal' wool knits? It’s what they’re made of and where they come from.

  • Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Adaptability 600 years in the making

When woven and knit into clothing, merino wool provides thermo-regulation of your core temperature, manages moisture, and naturally harbors anti-odour properties. It's also 100% renewable and biodegradable. But let's take a step back to understand why merino wool is so sought-after.

The merino sheep is the world's most historically-relevant and economically-prized sheep breed. Its fine, soft wool was sheared for clothing in 13th-century Spain and propped up Spanish royalty for centuries.

The breed was refined and thrived in 19th century New Zealand and Australia's sub-hemispheric climate. Today, most of the world's premium merino wool comes from herds in these two countries, where their wool protects them from extreme temperature fluctuations as they graze the mountainous terrain.

The benefits to you? An unrivaled yarn that adapts to any hot, cold, or dry environment.

  • Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Australia, Germany and you

All the merino wool yarn in the Vallier Fall-Winter 2019 Collection is from Australia and sourced from Germany's Südwolle Group, leading merino wool dealers in the outdoor clothing and fashion industries. The family-owned and operated enterprise has garnered a well-respected reputation for ethical sourcing (they hold multiple sustainability certificates) and yarn quality. Brands such as icebreaker, Smartwool, and a few select French fashion houses rely on the Südwolle Group for their fine yarn.

For our Galway and Faroe sweaters, we selected Südwolle's super-soft, highly-versatile Biella Yarn - a flat knit with origins in natural weaves utilized by high-fashion designers. The yarn is prized for the 'perfect imperfections' of high-quality merino wool, along with the host of merino wool benefits like thermo-regulation and quick-drying.

In the process of creating these finely-woven garments, Vallier designer Nathalie Chaloux toured the Südwolle Group's pristine factory in China—a spotless, organized, well-oiled machine of premium wool production. During her visit, Nathalie witnessed the special eco-friendly treatment that allows owners of our merino wool collection to machine-wash their sweaters then lay them flat to dry.

One byproduct of eco-treating our merino wool? It becomes more durable but still maintains its luscious next-to-skin softness. Put simply, our sweaters are made to last longer and feel luxurious to touch.

  • Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Irish Moss pattern for him and her - the Galway

The Vallier mandate is to keep things simple yet always in style—the very definition of classic clothing. To fulfill this mandate, we required the right mix of premium materials (Biella yarn) and functional designs (an equally-important mandate of ours, and one we suggest taking into account when you’re shopping for new clothing in the future).

What separates the Galway from other ‘classic’ merino sweaters is its tight and modest Irish Moss stitch pattern. This pattern is a traditional Irish weave of small textured bulbs, and when executed correctly, the weave gives a hued appearance for a rich darkness. The original sweater design was meant to be unisex, but we decided to scale the fit specifically for men and women. As Nathalie put it, “You don’t need to steal your boyfriend’s sweater to enjoy the same look.”

Our truly timeless stitch pattern in a mid-weight merino wool weave offers the perfect contrast with your chinos, dress pants, or your favourite pair of jeans. You can also wear it with only an undershirt for a simple, refined look, or dress it up with a button-down long-sleeve underneath for business meetings or a seasonal party.

Nathalie’s ideal use for the Galway? “Wear it to the office on a Friday in late fall then take off to my chalet and relax beside the fire with a glass of wine.”

  • Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Design in the details - the Faroe

The Faroe also comes in men’s and women’s styles, but unlike the Galway, it features a ½ length YKK zipper, traditional rib-knit, and a classic relaxed fit. The Faroe is also a mid-weight 100% merino weave, but it feels and looks a little heavier thanks to its ribbed fabric. The outcome is a slightly looser aesthetic. Even though we used the same wool weight, the loftier weave makes it feel even softer to your touch.

The classic relaxed fit is somewhere between slim and slightly oversized. It’s not too baggy but still forms to the shape of your body. The fit is enhanced by fully fashioned armholes, allowing extra movement through your shoulders.

We’d recommend pairing the Faroe with your favourite faded denim for an extended afternoon lunch date. You can also dress this sweater up with a collared shirt to layer in settings that call for a little more elegance. Or you can take Nathalie’s suggestion, “Wear it on cool weekends for an early autumn brunch on the patio.”

Either way, the Faroe isn’t meant to be a statement piece—it’s a classic, and it should be worn accordingly.

  • Classic Merino Wool Sweaters: Looking Closer at the Galway & Faroe

Vallier sweaters for all seasons

We regard our first offering of contemporary knit Vallier sweaters to be everyday essentials thanks to their premium merino wool knits and timeless, functional silhouettes. They're ideal for warmth and style through Canadian autumns, winters, and springs. Dressed up or down—no matter the occasion—you’re bound to be comfortable in either the Galway or the Faroe, which qualifies them as all-weather classics.