The best stories come from adventures undertaken with intention. At Dormeuil, we have sought for generations to uncover the softest and most resistant fibres, treating fabric as a great adventure in constant evolution. In this spirit, Dominic Dormeuil travelled to the untamed lands of Patagonia from which our latest instalment of the TonikⓇ Wool range was born as both a responsible and high-quality option for wool suit fabrics.
Into the wilderness of Patagonia
Falling into the footsteps of his ancestors, Dominic Dormeuil takes on a quest passed on through five generations: exploring the world to find the best fibres and select the finest wools from which to craft a unique range of cloth. Let us tell you more about the land where part of Dormeuil's high-quality wool suit fabrics come from.
A privileged geographic situation
Patagonia is a vast region located at the southern end of South America, which spans across both Argentina and Chile. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique cultural heritage, Patagonia is a highly sought after tourist destination for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, skiing, and wildlife watching. Popular outdoor sports destinations across Chile and Argentina combined with charming towns and villages, where local culture is very much alive, make Patagonia a destination for both sports and culture lovers alike.
Patagonia’s privileged geographic situation strongly contributes to its stunning beauty. Cradled between The Andes in the West and the Atlantic Ocean in the East, the area is one of the largest regions in South America covering approximately 1,043,076 square kilometres). The breathtaking patagonian scenery, between endless plains, glacial lakes, and rugged mountains, leaves a lasting mark on those who have had the privilege to admire it.
Much like its picturesque landscape, the climate varies greatly between regions. The North has hot summers and cold winters while the South, temperatures drop and winters can get extremely tough. Finally, the southern coast is particularly rainy, with a subpolar oceanic climate. These adverse climate conditions put any living being to the test, including the sheep!
The fabric of cultural blends
The region of Patagonia has a rich cultural heritage. Indigenous groups like the Mapuche and Tehuelche populated the region for thousands of years before it was colonised by Spanish and British settlers. Today, Patagonia presents a unique blend of indigenous, European, and modern influences, with traditions such as gaucho horsemanship and folk music still practised in some areas.
Wool making in Patagonia dates back centuries and originates from the time when indigenous peoples first domesticated llamas and alpacas. With the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century, various breeds of sheep were introduced and encouraged to graze the wide expanses. The harsh Patagonian climate and rugged terrain certainly contributed to the resistance of the sheeps' wool, now highly valued by textile manufacturers worldwide seeking the best wool fabric for suits.
It is from this geographical and cultural mix that the wool industry began to thrive. Today, Patagonia is known for producing sheep with some of the finest fibres in the world. In addition to its commercial importance, the textile tradition in Patagonia also plays an important cultural role. Indigenous communities continue to practise traditional weaving techniques, many of which are still used in the wool making process, like shearing the sheep by hand and manual spinning processes like wheel spinning. Wool is incorporated into traditional clothing and textiles as both a means to survive the rougher seasons of the year and preserve the cultural heritage by passing on knowledge and skills to future generations.
Dormeuil’s relationship with Patagonia emerged from the family’s quest for the softest, finest and most durable merino wool. The region's awe-inspiring backdrops and the invaluable know-how cemented the decision.
Patagonia and Tonik® Wool
To tell the tale of our quest to produce a wool suit fabric that is both durable and conscious of current environmental concerns, we must start at the very beginning. A key raw material in textiles, wool fibres cannot exist without the animal that produces it. Dormeuil sought farmers that could ensure the sheep's well-being, an essential condition for high-quality wool. Silky and strong, fine and elastic, cool and warm, the best fibres must tick a number of boxes. The fibres provided by the Patagonian sheep farmers that Dormeuil chose as partners provide such specific characteristics. In our search for the best wool fabric for suits, we weren’t exclusively looking for excellent technical qualities but also respect for the environment and the people involved in the process.
A land that provides both quality and durability
An iconic range from Dormeuil, Tonik® Wool was created many decades ago in search for premium fabric that combined innovation, quality and durability.
In Patagonia, Dominic Dormeuil didn’t only find immaculately white fibres, perfect to craft high-quality wool suit fabric, he also found potential to produce both a resistant and ecological material. How? By creating a cloth whose manufacturing process is entirely traceable, down to the farmer that provided the fibre - perhaps one day to the animal. Within the Tonik® Wool range, each stage of production is identified and certified.
In this way, Dormeuil ensures that every step of the manufacturing processes is optimised in order to best minimise environmental pollution. This approach extends to land management. Each farmer that we partner with on the Tonik® Wool range must account for clear objectives for natural resources preservation. Suppliers must also provide conditions for sheep rearing in line with high standards of animal welfare. To address this very point, a specific protocol has been set between Dormeuil and our partners, it is available upon request.
The current range is woven from 100 % pure Patagonian wool, 290/310 gr and offers great natural stretch. In keeping with its history, the collection remains timeless while it acquired valuable technical qualities thanks to high-twist yarns being incorporated in the weave to strengthen the final cloth while enhancing wool’s natural elasticity. In terms of colour palette, the line features beautiful shades, from deep tones to more vibrant hues thanks to the natural whiteness of the Patagonian wool fibres.
When asking ourselves: what is the best material for a men's suit? We definitely developed Tonik® Wool as one of Dormeuil’s answers to this burning question. This range provides a natural stretch that results in comfortable and crease-resistant garments fit for dynamic lifestyles without having to compromise on style. In our minds, the best wool fabric for suits must follow its wearer throughout all of life’s events.
Dormeuil’s definition of Respect
This core value applies to all involved in the process of manufacturing high-quality wool suit fabric: nature, animals, partners and clients. Dominic Dormeuil considers that it is his family’s duty to thread as softly as possible on the lands that provide the precious fibres. This philosophy remains unchanged, whether selecting fibres in Argentina or anywhere else in the world.
Respect translates into special attention to each part of the process from transforming fibres into yarn then into cloth, and cloth into clothes. Throughout the five generations that have headed Dormeuil, the quest for excellence in textile manufacturing found its durability in establishing circles of virtue: from responsibly sourced raw materials to outstanding craftsmanship without compromise.
Today, the many changes that have pushed the wool industry to evolve has put Dormeuil in a critical position between innovation and heritage preservation. We believe that both are possible, and our Tonik® Wool range is testament to that.