Giving to refuge a natural thing to do

Mons Royale founders Hamish and Hannah Ackland, pictured with their children Ted (6) and Frankie ...
Mons Royale founders Hamish and Hannah Ackland, pictured with their children Ted (6) and Frankie (3) at Dalrachney Station, Lindis Pass, sell merino activewear worldwide. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Wanaka activewear company has donated cotton underwear to Women’s Refuge.

Mons Royale also gives garments returned under warranty or leftover fabric to the charity Cosy Kids, which remakes or repurposes it into babywear.

Mons Royale, founded by Hamish and Hannah Acland, is best known for using merino wool to make activewear for snow sports and mountain biking.

Chief executive Mr Acland said he and his wife, creative director Mrs Acland, wanted to be innovative with fabric for some of their product lines.

In addition to merino wool, they were looking for other natural substitutes for synthetics and had been trialling other fibres, including cotton for underwear lines and cellulose fibre Tencel, which is made from sustainably sourced Australian trees.

"The underwear had not made it to market and as we accumulated lots of samples, we recently had a big clear-out," Mr Acland said.

"Rather than send the stuff to the landfill, we took it to four women’s refuges, including Gore and Clutha.

"We felt it was an important thing to do."

Mr and Mrs Acland are passionate about farming and merino wool.

Mrs Acland grew up on Dalrachney Station, in the Lindis Pass, while Mr Acland grew up on Mt Somers Station, in Canterbury.

He skied competitively and globally during his 20s, and she was a visual designer in New York.

They met in Wanaka and, as both wanted to do something they cared about, they eventually created outdoor and base-layer clothing ranges using wool, launching their company in 2009.

They now employ about 30 people.

Mons Royale sends its wool to China, where it is made into garments and then sold to about 750 stores worldwide.

They also have offices in Austria and Vancouver.

"Merino wool is an amazing natural material and we wanted something that was unique," he said.

They source their wool through the New Zealand Merino Company’s ZQ Merino.

Tencel is blended with the merino by their Chinese manufacturers to make a fabric used for their mountain-biking clothing.

Mr Acland said they had felt the negative impact of Covid-19, but there was an unforeseen silver lining.

"We noticed an increased demand for our products, particularly from the northern hemisphere, which was more than what we had planned for the Covid-19 period.

"During lockdown people had time to reflect on their values, and that included more people wanting to get outdoors, going mountain biking, hiking and skiing."

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