Product Focus No.5 Non Itchy Sweater Series
The “non-itchy sweater series” uses warm merino wool and textured cotton mixed material on the collar to suppress neck tingling. Since 2009, we have sold a cumulative total of more than 10 million pieces. In this month’s Product Focus, we talked with staff from the Apparel Division about the appeal of the popular “non-itchy sweater series.”
■ Background for Product Development
When the cold season comes, people always wish to keep their whole body warm – including, of course, the area around the neck. However, we heard many people complained that they were annoyed with the tingling and itchy feelings in the neck when wearing wool sweaters.
MUJI listened to the customers’ voices, and decided to make a sweater that is basic and comfortable, and by wearing this single piece, one can keep oneself warm – including the area around the neck. With this idea in mind, in 2009 MUJI developed a sweater that could reduce the tingling and itchy feelings around the neck.
The body part of the sweater applies 100% fine-count merino wool to keep the body warm while maintaining a soft touch. For the neck part, mixed materials of cotton (organic cotton) and polyester are used. In specific, the polyester adopted is a kind of functional material called Coolmax that can quickly absorb sweat. It not only contributes to a continuous dry feeling, but also has a soft texture. In this way, the sweater can reduce the tingling and itchy feeling around the neck, while keeping one from feeling too hot or uncomfortable.
■ Friendly to animals and the Earth
The wool used for “non-itchy sweater series” is non-mulesed※ wool. This means that the sheep that produce the wool are reared in a natural manner and have not undergone mulesing.
At the same time, in order to maximize the reduction of waste generated in the production process, we weave parts in the ready-to-use shapes that need no more cutting. By eliminating the cutting process, we were able to reduce the amount of waste generated during the manufacturing process.
※non-mulesed wool refers to wool from sheep that have not undergone mulesing, which is a special technique of cutting off sheep skin and meat to prevent the infestation of maggots that is performed for sheep raised in a particularly hot climate.
■ Ever-evolving Product
At the time of its launch, the series had only two types of products, namely Jersey Stitch Turtle Neck Sweater and Rib Stitch Turtle Neck Sweater. However, in response to customer requests, we expanded the product lineup to incorporate products that change the knitting method, such as Wide Rib and Aran Pattern, which can be worn in line with different scenes. We also added high-neck sweater series, dresses, and tunics to the non-itchy series.
In order to dye the body part and the neck part in the same color, and generate almost no difference in color for these two parts even though they are made of different materials, we worked with our production partner factories and solved this problem through trial and error; now we are able to produce the sweater as a whole. Also, we have revised the linking method for different parts to reduce the number of defective products.
What is more, in order for customers to easily wash the sweater at home with washing machines, we have been working with many parties in and outside the company as well as our business partners to conduct researches and make improvements little by little. Thanks to these efforts, we have passed the criteria for 36 times washing tests. We will continue our efforts to keep the product quality at a level that meets the global machine washable standard, which is applicable for all countries and regions.
■ Future Goals
In the future, we will strive to thoroughly refine the quality, price, and meaning of our products while continuous improving its raw material and functionality, so that more and more people can buy the products with confidence. In this way, we wish that the “non-itchy sweater series” will become the world's best sweater series. We will work together with our customers to create “a simple, pleasant life” where one can enjoy the elegance and simplicity of “this will do.”