Ibex Offers 100% Made in America Wool

Rambouillet sheep at the Lehfeldt ranch

From Montana sheep farm to hoodies and half-zips, Ibex's fall 2012 Shak Lite garments will be 100-percent American-made, sourced, and processed.

That means American sheep, ranchers, cutters, sewers, and designers all have a hand (or hoof) in producing that wool midlayer.

“Being able to expand our U.S. production to encompass our entire supply chain means that we can be more hands-on in every process along the way — from the farm to the finished garment,” said John Fernsell, founder and CEO of Ibex. “And ultimately, that means higher quality garments.”

Here's how it works, from sheep to Shak Lite:

  • 21-micron wool is collected from Rambouillet sheep at the Lehfeldt family ranch in Lavina, Montana.
  • The wool is sent to South Carolina, where it's combed and scoured.
  • Next it's sent to North Carolina, where it's spun into yarn and knit into fabric.
  • Last, it's sent to Ibex’s factories in California's Bay Area, where it's cut and sewn into one of four Shak Lite finished garments: Shak Lite 1/2 Zip (men's and women's, $120), Shak Lite F/Z (men's, $135), or Shak Lite Hoody (women's, $135).

Ibex chose the Shak Lite line for its American wool debut because it has fewer products and a smaller sales volume than the traditional Shak series.

"It allowed us to put the supply chain through a real world test without putting one of our main iconic products at jeopardy," said Keith Anderson, VP of Marketing for Ibex. "Basically we chose to take small steps here rather than a big leap. We want to help develop a strong and stable supply chain that can ramp up with our demand."

Ibex credits a growing interest in quality, American-made goods for the move.

“Our products are fabric-rich, not labor-rich, and we want quality, consistency, with well-trained cutters and sewers," said Fernsell. "So for us, chasing cheap labor doesn’t make sense. It’s also important to our customers that we are mostly made in the USA. People are becoming more vocal about where their products are manufactured.”

Fernsell would like to expand Ibex's use of U.S. wool in the future. “This is really important and a priority for us,” he said.

See the Lehfeldt ranch in Montana in the video Ibex Goes to Montana – an American Tale below.


800 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts
December 20, 2011 at 11:55 a.m. (EST)

very, very cool. 

(being we're talking about wool, I'd say "that's hot," but who wants to sound like Paris Hilton? ;)

denis daly
273 reviewer rep
1,962 forum posts
December 20, 2011 at 6:06 p.m. (EST)

that was a great article and to see where the product starts on small farms.I hope it gathers a large following abnd the industry just grows in the U.S.

9 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
December 20, 2011 at 7:21 p.m. (EST)

Ibex makes fantastic products.  I own several items and swear by every one of them.  Great article.  Item's arent cheap but I will continue to invest in good quality products that Ibex produces.

Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
2,487 reviewer rep
4,622 forum posts
December 21, 2011 at 8:36 a.m. (EST)

For full disclosure, I should note that I have an Ibex Shak Hoody (bought at retail by myself) that I really like. Oh, and a pair of glove liners too.

115 reviewer rep
291 forum posts
December 21, 2011 at 5:04 p.m. (EST)

Absolutely awesome! I've heard Ibex was good stuff but got discouraged every time I went to their website, everything I look at says "imported" and I would move on. It matters to me a lot for several reasons. For one, I really hate spending my hard earned cash on something that turns out to be junk. Of course it's going to cost more, at least for the initial purchase, but like Skibum says, it's an investment. It doesn't really cost more when it lasts twice as long as the cheaper stuff. Supporting American families... even better. So long as the quality is on par with the idea, they can count on my patronage. (see ya Icebreaker)

Can't wait till it starts coming on the market, wish it would be sooner than next fall.

1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
December 21, 2011 at 6:05 p.m. (EST)

Super Cool!

Thanks for the article Alicia.

30 reviewer rep
39 forum posts
December 29, 2011 at 8:44 p.m. (EST)

I love Ibex clothing.   I have 2 Shak's and they are may favorite of all there items.   I have one I use as a base layer and anotther in the next size up that I can wear as a top layer.

Rev Rob
0 reviewer rep
1 forum posts
December 30, 2011 at 10:39 a.m. (EST)

I am glad to see Ibex use wool grown on sheep in Montana, not too far from where I live. I commend them for staying within the shores of the U.S. to manufacture their clothing.

What pleases me the most - that this is natural fiber clothing. I will take wool, any day over synthetic fleece. Synthetic fleece may be cheap, but it will not serve you as well as wool clothing will.

I hope in the future, Ibex offers addition wool clothing and outer wear.

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