Three Experiments in Albini Merino Broadcloth (Y-Front, Hidden Placket and Button Up)

Email sent: Aug 8, 2017 4:35 pm

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Hey Everyone,

Some experiments come quick, but others take years to evolve. We've been selling merino t-shirts since almost day one of Outlier. Around day two or three we started wondering if we could take merino and make button ups as good as t-shirts with it.

It seemed like a simple idea at first, but it took seven whole years to create that woven merino shirting fabric of our dreams. A fabric that combines the power of nature's finest performance fiber, merino, with the powerful traditions of Italy's finest shirting mill, Albini. We call the fabric Albini Merino Broadcloth and today we we are excited to launch three experimental shirts using it.

The Albini Group has been weaving shirting near Bergamo Italy since 1876, with roots all the way back to 1796 in Leeds via their Thomas Mason brand. When we set out to make woven merino shirting fabric, we knew that it would need to be as good or better as the best cotton shirting. In other words we needed to work with a mill like Albini. More than that though, we also needed the right yarns, we needed to find a spinner capable of spinning wool into fine high twist yarns, so we turned to the experts at Südwolle, the same company that makes the stunning 15.5 micron merino yarns we use in our socks.

Working with Albini and Südwolle, with an assist from Woolmark in Italy, we began experimenting with yarns and eventually dialed everything down to a Super 140s, 16.5 micron, 90s double-ply yarn. It’s a finer merino than we use in most t-shirts because weaving a fabric with the structure of proper shirting requires much higher twist yarns, and lower micron fibers are needed to get a great hand feel.

The resulting fabric that Albini produced is pretty stunning, soft and gentle, yet with enough substance to drape like a great shirt. For this experimental launch we sewed it up in three styles and two colors. Experiment 030 - Albini Merino Broadcloth Y-Front is a casual take with a y-front neck and no collar. Experiment 031 - Albini Merino Broadcloth Hidden Placket is a dressier take with a hidden placket and a single slash front pocket. Experiment 032 - Albini Merino Broadcloth Button Up is an every day wearer, with a hidden button down collar and single front patch pocket. All of course made from nature’s finest performance fiber, merino, making them inherently thermoregulating, moisture absorbing to create a dry body climate and resistant to odors and wrinkles. The superwash treatment on the fabric means you can wash and dry them just like any other button up. Perhaps most importantly though the Super 140s merino is beautifully soft and feels incredible against the skin making these shirts an absolute joy to wear.

All the best,

Abe, Tyler and the Outlier crew

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