It's believed that wool has been used in clothing for more than 2,000 years. We certainly know that it was popular during the time of the Roman Empire, at which point shears had been introduced to make the task of extracting wool so much easier.
The Romans realised that different sheep could produce different qualities of the raw material. This realisation led to them to introduce specific breeding programmes, aiming at producing the highest quality wool possible.
So how did wool become so popular for use in clothing? Was it simply the case that it was viewed as being easy to extract and plentiful?
Although these two reasons undoubtedly contributed to the rise in the woollen industry, the Romans were attracted by one property of the material that continues to ensure that we still rely heavily upon it.
They realised that wool was easy to dye. This meant that it could be used to produce a wide range of clothing, making use of multiple colours.
Suddenly garments could easily be used to represent an individual's rank within an organisation, or their position within wider society.
Today, we still see clothing used in this way. A material such as wool, easier to dye than many alternatives, remains ideal for this very purpose.
Another important characteristic is that it is a material that has a very springy nature, meaning that it easily finds its original intended shape.