Material manMaterial man


April 27, 2017

3 min read
Words: Helene Ravlich

Lee Gladish, Advanced Materials Developer at Icebreaker.

Passionate about his role and equally at home in the office and immersed in nature, he tells us more about his work, and his passion for wool.

Answer the question: I was inspired to work for Icebreaker because...?

The combination of wool, and Icebreaker’s approach to merino wool in particular, drew my interest. The connection to the outdoors through not only the wool, but also close ties the company has with farmers. Together they create a unique experience that is visible in both the quality of the product and the people that work at Icebreaker.

Wool is a fibre you are so very passionate about, can you tell us more about that?

It’s one of those unique fibres that grows alongside the wearer, and changes subtly in accordance with everything they do. Wool is ‘seasonless’. Wool is timeless. It has always been that way. It breaks in like pair of leather hiking boots, it’s personal and it becomes a journey. When wool is cared for, it will last.

Materials Developer
  1. Raw merino top wool ready for processing.

When wool is cared for mindfully and simply, it really will last forever."

What can you say about Icebreaker MerinoLOFT™?

MerinoLOFT™ is a durable light insulation that balances a few key insulation performance factors while also keeping the benefits of wool. Wool Insulation is breathable and odour free. MerinoLOFT™ was developed to optimize the insulation thickness allowing the wool to trap air and provide warmth. Wool is already warm from the start, and increasing loft allows the fine merino fibres to trap more air spaces to providing optimal warmth and durability over time.

Materials Developer
  1. Hybrid designs combine panels of MerinoLOFT™ with merino jersey fabric. Explore MerinoLOFT™.
Materials Developer
  1. MerinoLOFT™ adds key areas of insulation to lightweight layers.
Why is MerinoLOFT™ better than synthetic or duck alternatives?

Merino insulation is naturally warm and compressible. The natural fibre insulation of wool keeps it warm and a dry feeling during use. Merino wool fibre is also less clammy than the synthetics and provides a truly natural, comfortable feel.

Which is your favourite MerinoLOFT™ style, and why?

The Ellipse Styles. These are a fantastic hybrid that has purpose by design. It includes wind protection and MerinoLOFT™ insulation where it’s needed. The Ellipse also uses the soft merino wool baselayer across the body and arms and is the perfect go to in all temperatures. It’s comfortable when I’m running, cycling and commuting, and on the trail. Because the merino wool doesn’t smell, I like the fact that I can commute and exercise in it and still wear it during the day without offending those around me.

How is MerinoLOFT™ designed for the modern consumer?

MerinoLOFT™ is designed to provide the maximum warmth and comfort that merino insulation has to offer. The styles are designed with many different end users and lifestyles in mind

In three words, what does Icebreaker clothing mean to you?

Pure, raw, purposeful.

What do you believe you were you put on the earth to do?

To share.

Finish this sentence: nature means to me...

…the opportunity to enjoy the simple things. And that’s the best part about wearing Icebreaker, it is for everyone to enjoy and share the experience of nature together.

Materials Developer
  1. A water resistant finish to the polyester outer protects you from the elements.


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