A round-up of 13 ethical knitwear labels to keep you cosy this winter


Look good, feel better.

Nothing beats the feeling of pulling on your favourite woolly sweater after a hot shower, and if we’re going to be cooped up at home during the chilly season, we might as well do it in style.

Discover more up-and-coming local designers in our Fashion section. 

This selection of ethically sound knitwear brands from here in Australia, a stone’s throw away in New Zealand, and from farther abroad have been chosen for their radical transparency, ethically sourced materials or fair labour practices. Feel free to play rain sounds and clasp a mug of hot tea while reading this for the full wintery effect.  

Frisson Knits


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A post shared by Frisson Handknits (@_frisson_knits_)

Softness you can feel through your screen. Frisson Knits hand makes sweaters from New Zealand kid mohair and it’s known for chunky knits and billowing sleeves in soft tones. Fibres are all ethically sourced; think native New Zealand Angora goats all farmed in small flocks. When we say handknitted, we really mean it – the brand uses needles and organic yarn to bring its creations to life. 




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Loris creates one-of-a-kind colourful explosions of knitwear. Lisa Kerr, the brains behind the business, knits every single piece from her lounge room, often with a cup of tea and a British crime show buzzing in the background. Her unique designs aim to invoke a sense of being loved and therefore instil confidence in the wearer. You can read more about her here, in a profile written by her daughter. 


Paloma Wool


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Step into the wildly eccentric world of Paloma Wool. Made in Barcelona, its latest collection of knitwear is reminiscent of resort wear. From fluorescent green zipper sweaters to fuchsia knitted pants, it’s bringing bright and bold loungewear to a living room near you.  




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A post shared by Kowtow (@kowtowclothing)

Kowtow follows the mantra that one should own a good thing and make it last. Its knitwear line is made from 100 per cent fair trade organic cotton, and all pieces are individually knitted to eliminate yarn waste. The colourways are simple – the brand is all about primary colours like bright green and blue, or a subdued camel cream.  


The Knitter

Nicole Leybourne is both ‘a knitter’ and The Knitter. The New Zealand-based creative has expanded her team of hand-knitted wares from New Zealand all the way to Peru, where the staff knit in their homes by hand. They use mohair yarn from New Zealand and alpaca and sheep wool from the Peruvian Highlands to create magically woolly knits. 


Maggie Marilyn

Featured in our editors’ list of best sustainable labels of 2020, Maggie Marilyn is a brand to behold. Its range of flirty and playful knitwear also comes with a note on who supplied the fibre, and where the piece was made. Its recent collection features traceable, capsule items starting at $72. My wallet is ready. 




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A post shared by MERINO WOOL CLOTHING (@woolerina)

This family-run business has been handpicking each batch of wool for over 10 years now. Woolerina holds an Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation, meaning its Australian supply chains are legally compliant and workers are being paid appropriately. Its organic fibre is a unique material that reacts to changes in the body’s temperature, meaning it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter. Ingenious. 




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A post shared by DOROTHY Knitwear (@dorothy_nz)

Founded by mother and daughter duo Anne and Lucy Aitchison, Dorothy makes über-cool, hand-knitted jumpers. Its one-off designs are made from locally sourced materials and knitted with New Zealand mohair or wool sourced from small businesses. Think cosy, oversized knitwear with a slight ’80s sensibility and you’ve got the picture.




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After noticing a gap in the New Zealand knitwear market, Marle founder Juliet Souter used her experience in the fashion industry to create her own label. Marle’s knitwear collection features a range of natural fibres and neutral tones – built to complement a wardrobe, not overwhelm it. Juliet’s latest collection, The River Answer, offers a sense of steadiness in a busy world.


Lil’ Knits


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Local label Lil’ Knits was created in 2016 by Lilly Morgan, a self-taught knitter from Melbourne. Crafting all her pieces from Peruvian Highland wool, Lilly’s designs come in a variety of punchy block colours. Lil’ Knits garments are made to order in an effort to reduce waste, so allow up to six weeks for your design to arrive (winter also officially begins in three weeks… so get ordering).




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A post shared by ELK (@elkthelabel)

Winners of the 2019 Australian Fashion Laureate Award for Sustainable Innovation, Elk is a Melbourne-based brand built on a strong foundation of transparency and conscious design. The brand’s merino wool is sourced from Australia, its alpaca wool is sourced from the Peruvian highlands and its organic cotton is grown in Turkey. Elk’s consciously-made pieces are timeless, built to carry you through the seasons.


McIntyre Merino


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After living on a working farm for a year, McIntyre Merino founders Ned and Raquel became inspired by the beauty of Australian wool. With its source located between the coastline of Warrnambool and the Grampian mountains, McIntyre wool is Australian-made, incredibly soft and gentle on sensitive skin. The brand’s pieces come in a selection of bold colours and designs, ensuring all wearers will stand out from the crowd.




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A post shared by Arnsdorf (@arnsdorf)

Arnsdorf is a Melbourne-based, slow fashion womenswear brand with a focus on transparency and ethical manufacturing at its heart. Each Arnsdorf piece includes a breakdown of production costs, promoting honesty between the brand and its customers. The entire Arnsdrof design process takes place at the brand’s in-house Melbourne atelier.

For more ethical knitwear suggestions, head here.

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