Handmade in Britain
Our 'Handmade in Britain' collection will be the first UK-based knitwear that recruits and employs specifically retired pensioners as its workforce, to produce an edgy collection that is made of 100% yak wool. Our yarn is sourced from the Khangai Mountains, where the wool is hand-combed by nomadic herder families, then hand-spun by nomadic women who live in the region. The precious yarns are only available once a year, when they are shipped to the UK, where our limited supply of sweaters are lovingly handmade by skilled knitters.
Why aren't the sweaters handmade in Mongolia?
Knitting is not yet a widespread specialist skill in Mongolia. Nomadic people tend to make felts, hand-sew and embroider. In the future, with more training and time, we hope to produce handmade knitwear in Mongolia. For now, Handmade in Britain is about turning fashion on its head. It's about challenging the status quo: the perception that fashion is just for the young or made by the young. We all know that our grannies can knit like nobody's business, so why not harness that expert skill into producing something edgy and fun? We want to show the world that just because you are living into your later years, it's never too late to get involved in fashion and design. We make it a point that we want skilled knitters to produce our Handmade in Britain collection, and in our eyes, skill has no upper age limit.
What is the purpose behind this collection?
We all know knitting is a sociable thing, but with cutbacks in government funding and investments in health and social care dwindling, and an ageing population, tens of thousands of social clubs and activities have been closed in the UK. Knitting is an extremely sociable pastime, so we want to support and celebrate this activity for older people in the UK. The Handmade in Britain collection provides opportunities to earn after retirement, access to training in knitwear design, and helps reduce isolation. Profits from this range will be donated to support community well-being services for older people living in the UK.
Why only produce knitwear once a year?
The only way to source yak wool is by individually hand-combing the yak once a year, when their winter coat begins to shed in the spring. Once this precious wool is sourced, we have to wait until the following year before our next supply of yak wool is available.
How are the yarns hand-spun?
Take a look at the video below to see how our yarns are handspun in Mongolia, thanks to the support of the French NGO, Argonomists and Veteranians Without Borders, and the previous support of Mercy Corps.