A new Wool Denim has been developed that uses the same warp yarn as traditional denim, but replaces some, or all, of the weft yarns with machine-washable wool to deliver a high-performance fabric.

According to The Woolmark Company, which has developed the material, previous attempts to create wool/cotton blends in denim have used an intimate blend of wool with cotton - two fibres which are not easy to combine in a yarn.

Yet by replacing some, or all, of the weft yarns with wool, it says a higher performance and more cost effective fabric can be produced.

"By incorporating some wool with the cotton, Wool Denim jeans feel warm to the touch, even in winter, and when wet feel drier on the skin and more comfortable than 100% cotton," explains The Woolmark Company managing director Stuart McCullough.

He adds that the group "has worked closely with the manufacturing industry to develop new processes that can provide unique and casual effects on wool fabrics."

Wool has traditionally been used in formal products, and it is hoped that the new fabric will help the fibre regain some of its market share from cotton and take advantage of the trend towards a more casual way of dressing.