The Shop Small Series: 3 Sustainable Knitwear Labels To Keep You Warm This Winter

Fashion
By Ashling McCloy | 10th October 2023
sustainable knits

From cardigans to sweaters, hand knits have come to the forefront of fashion. No longer seen as dowdy, but coveted pieces loved by influencers and A-listers alike. In a move towards slow fashion, sustainable knitwear is the obvious route, so we checked out a few brands making waves as they work with skilled artisans and small communities.

I’m calling it. Sweater Weather has arrived. I don’t care if it’s still 25 degrees outside, it’s October and I’m ready to dive into those chunky knits. I’ve already brought you a round-up of the latest cardis from well-known designers and on the high street – thank me later – but what about the brands embracing traditional knitting skills and sustainable knitwear? There are thousands of craftspeople across the globe still practising age old techniques, so whittling down to just three labels was no mean feat. So, for this month’s Shop Small Series, I focused in on three young designers that felt compelled to embrace and potentially reignite these handed down skills.

Below are female-founded growing businesses, which have changed the paths of many communities by providing new work and income. Each founder had a vision to support independent artisans and in doing so has created luxurious knitwear to treasure. From Ireland to Lithuania, discover handmade pieces made from the softest wool, created with the most impeccable attention to detail. This is so very far from throw-away fashion; this is about heirloom style.

Scroll to shop sustainable knitwear brands…

1. Moss + Cable

Specialises in: Traditional Knits

A brand born out of love for Co. Donegal, on the northwest coast of Ireland, is a brand that I’m here for. Having spent many childhood holidays on this very coast, it brings a deep sense of loyalty and admiration to shout about a young business celebrating the traditional skills of this rugged land. Donegal native, Siobhan McKenna, founded Moss + Cable after completing a Master’s at the London College of Fashion and then working for leading luxury department stores in London. 

Seeking to reinvigorate Aran knitwear she returned home and set about working with local artisans and knitters to create a unique collection, weaving iconic Aran stitches together. What she achieved is now a stunning range of beautifully soft heirloom pieces each with a contemporary feel. A handknit item can take two weeks to complete and while her Heritage Aran knit, created on a hand loom, may only take a couple of days, everything is still a manual process. A true labour of love, in my eyes, which sees ethically produced, not to mention gorgeously soft jumpers and cardis delivered straight to your door.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Moss + Cable (@mossandcable)

Made with a drop shoulder, the Relaxed Lambswool Aran is the ultimate cozy and chic pullover. Constructed with honeycomb and cable stitches, this knit is beautifully timeless in design, while also being deliciously soft against the skin thanks to the premium merino lambswool.

2. Hope Macauley

Specialises in: Fun, Colourful Creations

Not for the faint-hearted, these joyful designs have captured the hearts of many an A-lister; spotted on the likes of Halsey, Gigi Hadid, Rosalía, Anne Marie and Jennifer Hudson, not to mention the slew of style influencers that flood the designer’s social media feed. So admittedly, on the surface this label is a rapidly growing brand, however its principles are centred around small teams and slow fashion. 

The eponymous label, founded by Northern Irish fashion and textiles designer, Hope Macaulay, is set on producing sustainable knitwear by her team of 17 knitters across Northern Ireland. Keeping it local and supporting her community, while creating brilliantly bright creations, like her now signature piece, the Colossal Knit Jacket,  is surely the epitome of dopamine dressing. The made-to-order model also minimises waste, and any scrap of wool left over is used for packaging or donated to aspiring student creators and charitable organisations. All in all, this winter is already looking a lot brighter. 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by MICHELLE ADU (@mimiadu)

Hope Macaulay has created iconic pieces handcrafted by her team of local knitters from sustainably sourced materials such as luxury merino wool and vegan biodegradable nylon. Join her legion of fans on social media and prepare yourself for one major dopamine hit.

3. The Knotty Ones

Specialises in: Handspun Beauties

Launched by three Lithuanian friends Akvilė, Danutė and Sandra, this label is more of a sisterhood than a brand. Specialising in traditional Baltic knits, these women work with numerous female artisans to create their collection with sustainability at its core. And the bit that gets me… when you purchase your new sweater, you get to contribute directly to the knitter. They call it the Knitter’s Dream Fund: you can simply add an extra donation when checking out and it goes directly towards your knitter’s goal – like driving lessons, learning a language or booking a vacation. Genius, right? 

Essentially, as you buy an utterly fabulous new piece of knitwear, you’re also supporting another community or livelihood. Plus, unlike shopping on the high street, you know exactly where the story began. Furthermore, each piece is named after a person, place or feeling. Take the Barbora knit, crafted by hand this unique sweater can take between five and seven days to make. It was inspired by its namesake: Barbora Radvilaitė, Grand Duchess of Lithuania. Apparently much like the real Barbora, she’s ready to tackle whatever comes her way. We’re ready for that.

The Knotty Ones was founded by three best friends who set out to create the perfect knit while giving back to their community. They support independent female artisans as well as female-founded factories in rural Lithuania to create their knitwear.

The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.


Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Join our daily email now