Premium wool brands adapt to meet consumer demands

But a number of brands that rely on fine merino wool are opting to deal direct with farmers, to implement their own animal welfare standards and avoid the volatility of the open cry wool auction.

Jeremy Moon, founder of New Zealand brand Icebreaker, said the boom bust cycle made the wool auction unworkable.

"We purchase typically up to three years in advance," he said.

"We have contracts with a handpicked group of the best NZ merino growers and we agree on a fair price that is profitable for them and for us.