In the world of textiles, the season of knitwear has well and truly arrived! What better way to celebrate than to unpack how to ethically and consciously select your knits for the brisk weather ahead! To get your money’s worth, we are firm believers in the ‘buy well, buy once’ approach.
While agriculture and transport seem to get the most attention when it comes to environmental impact, the devastating effects of the fashion industry often go under the radar. Fashion production contributes to 10% of humanity’s annual carbon emissions, and unfortunately 85% of all textiles go to landfill each year. Check out this link for the run down of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry.
The most pressing problems seem to be the large amount of fashion materials made from plastic and the large quantities of micro-plastics released into the ocean every time we wash our clothes. As seen on the thought-provoking ABC series The War on Waste, Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes (wtf!!). What does this say about our consumption habits?
We buy trending clothing items that last a season until they are unfashionable and chuck it, by then, it's that time again to buy another trending item only to repeat the aforementioned process, thereby losing our money, contributing to a major environmental problem and accumulating no durable, sustainable and timeless pieces to our wardrobes.
When shopping online and in store, the best way to distinguish an ethical knit from its counterpart is to check the garment’s composition available in the product description or on the label. There you are likely to see something along the lines of: 70% acrylic 20% nylon 5% wool 5% alpaca, or: 95% wool 5% angora. As a general rule of thumb, avoid artificial yarns such as acrylic and nylon, be highly conscious of knits labelled as ‘Wool Blend’ as this often indicates the presence of artificial yarns within its composition and inspect the brand’s back story and production process to get a sense of their values and ethos so you can make an informed decision as to whether you would like to support them.
The ethical knit checklist
✓ (100%) Natural
✓ Biodegradable and compostable
That’s precisely why we are so excited to be stocking a beautiful range of sustainable Scottish knitwear from ERIBÉ, founded by Rosemary Eribé. We had them on the shelves last year as well, and they were an absolute hit. Their fair isle designs are a must-have addition to the wardrobe and personally, make me feel like a cottage-dwelling, baking-winter-treats-while-it’s-snowing-outside kinda lady. Each knit is perfect for adding colour, warmth and style to any look.
The company is based out of a gorgeous township by the name of Galashiels, where all their knits are manufactured using traditional knitting methods. Eribe play an essential role in keeping the traditional Scottish knitting culture alive, and have cultivated a beautiful community of avid textile enthusiasts throughout their 25 years of business. These excerpts from their website are particularly heart-warming:
‘Mrs Margaret MacIntyre aged 72, from a village on the Isle of Lewis, is one of ERIBÉ knitters. “I love knitting, I knit all the time” she says. In fact, she’s been knitting ever since she was a small child. “It was part of the culture of long, dark evenings – we lived in a wee village in the country, and we all knitted alongside our mothers.”
Ann Percy, explains how her skill was passed down through the family generations: “I come from a family of knitters. My father and his brother were taught to knit their own socks. I’ve been knitting since I was three, because my gran and great-gran did the socks and gloves and scarves for soldiers, sailors and airmen.”’
(insert photo of warehouse/traditional industrial knitting machine/eribe team)
Their knits are made from only natural fibres such as lambswool, Shetland wool, camel hair, merino, mohair and angora and they have made concerted efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of each of their garments by increasing the quantity of Shetland wool as it is close to home for them.
Lastly, for all the anglophilics out there, Princess Royal Anne, as the President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, recently paid a visit to the Eribe HQ to celebrate the success of a company with a distinguished business strategy of sustainability, heritage and quality that truely walks the talk. Her presence was certainly warranted as Eribe has just received the acclaimed International Business Award from the Federation of Small Businesses.
Get that lovely warm fuzzy feeling you get from Eribe knitwear and shopping ethically. Find our whole range of delectable Eribe knitwear online or drop in to the shop Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm and Saturday,10am - 1pm.