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A roundup of 8 ethical knitwear labels to keep you cosy this winter

IMAGE VIA DOROTHY
WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU

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 upcoming chilly season, we might as well do it in style.

This list 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

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. 

Loris 

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

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.  

Kowtow

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, and this season’s all about primary colours, a camel-cream or a bright green.  

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 be 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 new Somewhere range features traceable, capsule items starting at $72. My wallet is ready. 

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. 

Dorothy 

Founded by mother and daughter duo Anne and Lucy Aitchison, Dorothy make uber 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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