You probably haven’t heard of them, but they are a big deal! Rambouillet sheep are an American breed that is known for incredibly soft wool that rivals the finest sheep wool found abroad. Appalatch uses Rambouillet wool as our fiber of choice because of its American heritage, its softness against the skin (yes, it doesn’t itch!), and the fact that it is a truly sustainable fiber composed mainly of water, sun and grass. We like Rambouillet sheep so much that we’ve adopted one to be our mascot. You’ve probably noticed…
Appalatch primarily uses domestic Rambouillet wool to make clothing entirely in the USA.
What is the Rambouillet Sheep Breed
The Rambouillet Sheep has such an interesting story! The breed originates from the Spanish Merino stock that were known for producing the finest wool in the world. At that time, the Spanish government banned the export of the breed, but the King of Spain finally granted 359 Rambouillet sheep to be given to France in 1786. The sheep landed in Rambouillet, France and quickly became a favorite. The sheep were slowly introduced into Germany after the 18th century. Sheep from Germany and France, now known as Rambouillet Sheep, then found there way to America in 1840. Since then the Rambouillet have become the backbone of the American sheep industry, particularly in the Western US.
Rambouillet vs. Merino
Rambouillet sheep and Merino sheep produce basically the same wool. Originating from the same genes, the Rambouillet and Merino sheep produce identical fibers, although the stock has physically changed to adapt to the American landscape. Companies call products that they make using Rambouillet sheep wool, Merino. In fact, it is so easily interchangeable, that you may not know that the Merino clothing you wear is actually Rambouillet!
Why we Choose to Use Rambouillet Wool
We take pride in American manufacturing. From the raw fiber to the processing, to the creation of fabric and finally sewing into garments, everything happens in America. At Appalatch, we primarily use domestically sourced fiber. Because Rambouillet sheep wool is domestic, versus Merino which is grown in New Zealand, Australia and China, we are partial to Rambouillet and think that it is even softer than Merino at the same Micron. Grace, our expert hand tester, (and co-founder, so there is probably some bias there) says so!
Clothing we Make with Rambouillet Sheep Wool
The wool that we use comes from Rambouillet sheep raised in the USA. Our T-shirts, Henleys and Sweaters are entirely American made products. From the Rambouillet wool to the final sewing (and even the thread, buttons and tags), our base layers are made in the USA.