Black shearer's singlet
Traditionally shearers wore a black singlet, thick trousers and moccasins cut from a wool bale. Today, they wear custom-made shearing pants and coloured singlets. The black woollen singlet allowed shearers to keep warm, while freely moving their arms, and the extra length protected their kidneys. Pure wool has the added bonus of fire resistance, as attested at field days where people were encouraged to put a blowtorch to a singlet to test this theory. This singlet is from the Manawatu Knitting Mills, founded in 1884 by Mary Alice Stubbs and her husband, John Stubbs. Originally the company produced hosiery in a converted farmhouse, and has evolved to become one of Australasia’s largest knitwear producers. Read more about wearing the colour black in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Black: The history of black in fashion, society and culture in New Zealand.