These 3 cool wool brands know how to make their customers ánd their makers happy. Check out these woollen beauties that came to life by purpose-driven people thinking out-of-the-box, or actually, out-of-the-factory.
When designer Roland Pieter Smit found out Dutch wool had become a waste product to farmers, he decided to put the material at the centre of his graduation project for the Design Academy Eindhoven. He was determined to find a way to put it back on the map to make people see its value again. But he didn’t stop there.
When looking for a place to manufacture his woollen goods, he came across a care centre for people with mental and physical limitations at Texel – one of the Dutch islands known for its sheep. He decided to work together with them. He designed special looms that take into account their capabilities. Autistic people, for example, prefer to work with very thin yarn, while people with Down’s syndrome prefer thicker wire. The result of that cooperation is Wolwaeren: a series of beautiful rugs and blankets that not only provide useful work to special people but has also put Dutch wool in the limelight again.
#2 Granny’s Finest
Do you have a grandmother that loves to knit? Big chance she has made you several items that ended up somewhere in the back of your closet only to come out when, well, visiting your grandmother. Her sense of style probably just isn’t yours. But what if you could combine your grandmothers craftsmanship with a young designer’s sense of fashion? That would be awesome and that’s exactly how the collections of scarfs, headbands and mittens from social enterprise Granny’s Finest come to life.
Founders Niek and Jip learned there are tons of ‘grannies’ out there that love to knit but don’t have anybody to do it for anymore. They decided to set up knitting clubs so these ladies can practise their hobby while enjoying each other’s company. To make sure the younger generation will enjoy the knitwear as much as their makers, Niek and Jip added the skills of young designers with a great sense of fashion. The profit they make from selling the knitwear products is used to organise activities for the grannies. Isn’t it wonderful?
#3 Wool and the Gang
A brand named Wool and the Gang must be awesome. And it is. Wool and the Gang is a knitwear brand born out of a love for knitting and a dislike for low quality fast fashion that squeezes the life out of its makers . WATG founders Aurelie and Jade created a way to circumvent mass produced clothing by building a worldwide Gang of knitters. A community of more than 2.000 makers – ‘Gang Makers’- who knit and sell the cool Wool and The Gang creations, from their homes. Anyone from anywhere can join and make money by knitting the Wool and the Gang designs.
But that’s not all. Instead of buying one of the creations made by a Gang Maker, you can buy a knit kit – containing wool, a pattern and needles – and do it yourself. A concept that has proved to be very popular as the ‘maker culture’ (think Etsy and the like) has really revived the past few years. ‘Knitting is the new yoga’ it says on the WATG website. Knitting apparently has ‘tons of benefits’ such as reducing stress and anxiety levels. The brand wants to encourage and inspire all knitters by uploading videos tutorials and by helping people to host knitting parties to meet like-minded and improve their skills. Want to join their Gang?