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From carbon negative to one-of-a-kind kaleidoscopic knits, this is the septet of ethical knitwear brands to know.
Every year, the world of fashion is awash with all manner of knitwear trends, all of which are admittedly perfect for swaddling and cosying up in. But no trend, knitwear or otherwise, is as pressing as the perennial trend of being as conscious and ethically-minded when purchasing products as possible.
“In truth fashion full stop is not sustainable,” Mother of Pearl’s creative director Amy Powney explains. “Every garment has a footprint no matter what, although some are better than others; the word sustainable has now been used too freely it’s hard to make its meaning tangible.”
But despite the murky waters in which the concept of sustainability floats, there has been a clear shift in consumer attitudes to making more conscious decisions. Net-a-Porter has reported that almost two-thirds of its customers now shop from its Net Sustain edit, and analysis of their online behaviour shows an increase in “shopping with a purpose” and showing their interest in brands and projects which are more inclusive and diverse, sustainable and charitable.
And now the knit-sphere has cottoned (ahem) on to the concept of conscious cosiness. From the launch of Sheep Inc., the world’s first carbon-negative knitwear brand, which is 100% traceable, to Waste Yarn Project, which has just celebrated its first birthday and was launched by Norwegian-born, Paris-based artisan Siri Johansen (who previously held positions at luxury ready-to-wear houses Kenzo, Burberry and Pringle of Scotland).
In short, there’s no need to sacrifice style in order to make a more sustainable choice as it pertains to knitwear. Look to this line-up of lesser-known labels for your fuzzy fix, and cosy on up.
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Waste Yarn Project
Launched in October of last year, Waste Yarn Project was born from Johansen’s fatigue with finding surplus leftover yarn being wasted during factory visits. His brand now uses this once-forgotten fabric to craft one-of-a-kind jumpers, which are all made by hand.
Shop Waste Yarn Project unisex, £401
Similarly, British brand Herd launched last autumn with a mission to make beautiful, sustainable knitwear to revive and re-energise the traditions of sheep farming for wool in England.
The label uses no toxic chemicals to dye or clean its wool and locally-sourced fleeces, meaning its knits come with a massively reduced carbon footprint too.
Shop Herd Wyre cardigan, £375
London Cashmere Co.
Launched in 2018, London Cashmere Co is a small label pioneering luxury cashmere that makes beautiful jumpers, cardigans and accessories that nod to the seasonal trends, but are essentially contemporary classics. Everything is ethically and responsibly produced in Mongolia, with a fully traceable and direct supply chain. All the cosiness, but a clear conscience to boot too. What could be better?
Shop Alanna jumper at London Cashmere Co, £129
Sheep Inc. crewneck jumper
The world’s first carbon-negative knitwear, Sheep Inc jumpers are guaranteed to last a lifetime and are 100% traceable to origin. The production of the super soft unisex knits results in zero waste and the finished knits come in a quintet of versatile colours, all of which are inspired by nature.
Shop Sheep Inc. crewneck jumper £160
Conscious London label Damson Madder crafts some of the most covetable ethical wares in the game and its ribbed sleeveless knit is proof. For conscious knits that don’t cost the earth, quite literally, look no further than the homegrown label.
Shop Damson Madder cream ribbed sleeveless knit, £30
&Daughter Bonnie tank top
Created by expert makers in the UK and Ireland using natural yarns, slow knitwear label &Daughter values quality, usefulness and a less-but-better approach to consumption. We love this V-neck black knit vest, which we’ll be styling with masculine tailored trousers and ankle boots.
Shop &Daughter Bonnie tank top, £325
Bellemere New York cashmere pullover
New cashmere brand Bellemere New York has created a range of investment knitwear using natural, high quality and sustainably-sourced cashmere. Wear this bow detail knit, or one of the brand’s chunky roll neck styles, with straight-leg jeans and trainers for an effortless weekend look.
Shop Bellemere New York cashmere bow sleeve pullover, £196
Lead image: & Daughter / WasteYarnProject
Further images: Courtesy of brands
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