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By Neesha Gill
It’s pretty easy to do ethical, eco-friendly knitwear as this genre of clothing normally uses materials that are as natural as can be: think cashmere, alpaca, and organically raised sheep. But making knitwear chic and exciting is a different story.
Normally associated with grannies (and most recently, retro-hipster knitting circles), knitwear is taking a new turn. As these 5 completely different ethical knitwear brands show, knitwear trends for fall include Boho-chic, sculpturally cool, uber-elegant, traditional, and even African!
Myrrhia is the hippest knitwear brand we know of. Based in California, the brand’s pieces are accordingly lightweight: no need for chunky cable knit jumpers when the sun’s always shining, so pieces from the label range from bandanas and skirts to dresses and tops. To reduce their carbon footprint, the brand is dedicated to using zero-waste knitting technologies and adhere to the strictest of ethical business practices.
Founded by Laduma Ngxokolo in 2010, this African brand creates modern knitted garments using traditional techniques used in South Africa. The brand’s beautiful knitwear is truly unique: the vibrant, colourful patterns used on all their garments make you stand out from the crowd, whilst highlighting the brightness, history and vitality of African culture.
Nanna van Blaaderen is more a ‘wool sculptress’ than ‘fashion designer.’ Her artistic creations are handmade from 100% natural merino wool and are often inspired by the shapes and forms taken on by the animal world: the coils of a python; the rounded ears of a cat, or the bumpy skin of an ostrich’s hide. We say this Dutch designer makes the warmest art you’ll ever wear!
Strongly against sweatshop labour, this passionate Italian’s mantra is ‘profit can be sought without damaging mankind.’ Each collection features artisanal products that are strictly Made in Italy by over 300 talented craftsmen who live in a sustainable village in Umbria. Cucinelli firmly believes that “money only has real value when it is spent to improve the life and development of people,” so he donates a large part of his profits towards lovingly restoring and renovating the hamlet in which his workers live, and supporting arts initiatives there. As an added bonus, most of his knitwear is made of ethically sourced, pure cashmere and merino wool.
Kuya by Abury
This eco fashion brand was brought to life in Marrakesh by designer Andrea Kolb after she was inspired by the handicraft heritage of the Moroccan people, but their stunning ‘Kuya’ knit collection comes from another country’s traditions.
Surprisingly perhaps, that place is Ecuador. Although this country is pretty hot year-round, they do know how to knit, and Abury gets their cosy garments made from all-natural, ethically sourced alpaca found in the Ecuadorian mountains. Apart from being constructed from such eco-friendly materials, these sweaters also help the indigenous population who knit them maintain a stable living.