Per sheep around six kilogrammes of wool are washed, yarned, and turned into a variety of products every year. Be it sheep wool jackets, socks, cushions or blankets – the material is characterised by its natural functionality. As a result of the collaboration with the shoe maker Monaco Duck, its robust, breathable, water-repelling, and original character is turned into a true eye-catcher where traditional upper material and chic sneaker shape become one fashionable item.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s traditional costume and fashion retailer Grasegger and Munich-based lifestyle company Monaco Duck have decided to work together to design a special shoe model that combines the historic and the modern. With loden material from mountain sheep wool as upper material Grasegger contributes the traditional element to the modern Monaco Duck sneaker. Loden is the world’s oldest outdoor material and even today it has a fixed part in the world of fashion. In combination with high-quality leather inside and details the old meets the new – elegant and sporty at the same time, everyday chic for men and women.
It all started with a raffle
At the annual sheperds’ meeting that takes place every autumn in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Thomas Grasegger won a single sheep at a raffle. He had always been interested in sheep, especially in how the mountain sheep wool could be processed. He soon bought more sheep – and today the Grasegger family has more than thirty four-legged members. In the past years the wool was only used as insulation material in construction, making it into clothing seemed too complex.
But the Grasegger family wanted to go back to the roots. Curiosity and an investigative mind pushed the Grasegger’s to work out what other functions the material had. The wool was washed and spun. The result: highest quality wool with a tough and robust consistency. And even after it was processed it retained the qualities that are essential for a sheep’s survival – on the pasture the wool needs to protect the sheep from heat and cold, rain and dirt, and it needs to balance out temperature differences, too. As a consequence the material is low-maintenance, water-repellent, keeps you warm, and at the same time it is breathable and stain-repellent. Perfect prerequisites for shoes.
A break in style? No way!
The collaboration of Grasegger and Monaco Duck is based on an existing product: the Monaco Duck shoe. As of the end of 2016 Grasegger has been providing the upper material, the special edition soon became a classic and thus a fixed element of the collection. Men and women can complement their traditional costume outfit with this cool, robust shoe. For women it’s particularly fitting in autumn when it can be worn with thicker materials like a cardigan. For men the model is a perfect match with lederhosen all year round. The top quality of the wool grease makes the shoe wearable in every weather and at every occasion. A true fashion statement that is not a break in style.
From head to toe
Around six kilograms of wool per sheep per year – and one shoe requires around 200 grams of wool. Which means that Grasegger does not just use the wool from its own sheep, it also buys additional material from other sheep. And there is more than just shoes. A cuddly blanket (2.1 x 1.2 metres) that requires about four kilograms of wool and a hat complete the snug feeling from head to toe. The colour of the processed wool is always grey, although there are differences in shade: depending on the mixing ratio the material can be lighter one year or darker another year. No artificial colours are added to the wool, only natural dyes are used.
At the moment there are around 4,000 mountain sheep in Bavaria, 2,500 of which in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region and about 1,000 in the Werdenfels region. The culture and tradition around the mountain sheep is still very much alive and the cycle of the sheep is a fixed part of the local calendar year. Every year in spring the sheep head up to the alps where they go as far up as the 2,600-metre Zugspitz plateau and stay there for around 100 days. In September the herds are driven down into the valley and in winter the young are born which gives them plenty of time to prepare for the trip up into the mountains in the spring.
Well-groomed pastures and alpine farming are fixed elements of Bavarian customs, which is particularly important in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and has a strong influence on the people’s identity. The history of the traditional costume and fashion house Grasegger began around thirty years ago, the label Monaco Duck was founded in 2014. Both companies use a traditional product, which, in combination with modern cuts and shapes, meets every generation’s zeitgeist and helps transport Bavarian heritage into the 21st century.