12 Apr 2011

US design award won by merino products

1:23 pm on 12 April 2011

Merino wool compression garments designed and produced in New Zealand have won an award for medical design excellence in the United States.

Encircle Compression Therapy products were developed for The Merino Company by a team led by Locus Research, partnered with the AgResearch Textiles Group and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand.

Lead designer Blythe Rees-Jones says the brief was to find innovative new applications for merino.

He says they looked at the products currently available for the treatment of circulatatory problems - such as varicose veins and ulcers - and found that they were largely bandages and compression hosiery, made from synthetic materials which often contribute to skin infections.

The Encircle garments are made from an elastane polyester and merino, which sits next to the skin.

Mr Rees-Jones says a major order has already been received from Australia and there's been interest from as far afield as Norway and Denmark.

He hopes there will be flow-on benefits for local merino growers.