It seems there is a fashion revolution on the way and we’re hoping UK-based knitwear brand Wool and the Gang is on our side. With continued designs on re-booting fast fashion and home manufacturing, we talk to its founders and creative directors Jade Harwood and Aurelie Popper.
I can’t knit. There, I said it. Despite my best intentions you won’t find me knitting one, purling one or anything of the kind, despite coming from a family of solid blanket makers. Imagine my delight on discovering Wool and the Gang (WATG) and its range of ‘knit kits’ for the kneedle-challenged.
Founded in 2008, the knitwear brand is the creation of designers Aurelie Popper and Jade Harwood who met while studying Textile Design at Central Saint Martins and working at Alexander McQueen and Balmain, plus former model and yarn lover Lisa Sabrier. With the belief that customers should know what their fashion is made from, how it’s made and by whom, each WATG item is handcrafted or knitted by their worldwide Gang of artisans and makers – or by yourself with the help of a ‘knit kit’, which include patterns and wools for hats, dresses, scarves, bags and plenty more.
‘What led us to Wool and the Gang was mainly the fact that we were fed up with mass production and fashion throwaways,’ say Popper and Harwood. ‘We want to create clothes that people will cherish and keep, as we do with all the valuable things in life. The main idea was to make knitting sexy and rock ‘n’ roll.
‘Buying clothing isn’t just a fashion statement, it is a conscious and responsible act. We are what we buy.’
Talking a year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, the Gang believe that changing the way fashion is created and consumed is more important than ever.
‘It becomes more and more important for customers to know who made their clothes and under what conditions,’ added Popper and Harwood. ‘Transparency is the number one factor, which will force the fashion industry and especially big retailers to take proper care of every phase of their business.
‘From sourcing materials to production, packaging and marketing, more and more brands are working on their sustainability plan, respecting both their human and environmental resources. It’s up to every business to decide its pathway. Our Gang believes in sustainable design, which is made unique and is never from a factory.’
And what a Gang it is. In just the past year 100 Gang makers have grown to more than 1,000 who knit on their own terms, which means their own time and place, across the UK, US, France, Australia and Peru.
Popper and Harwood added: ‘The majority of our knitters are based in the UK but our goal is to create Gang hubs in every place.
‘A Gang should always be able to grow internally and externally. Internally means that our community makers stay at the core of our brand and are involved in every stage of production. Now we’re taking on the even bigger challenge of involving them in the design process as well. We’re reaching out to our community to create new resources, and it’s a very creative and fulfilling process for everyone involved.’
But what does that mean externally? It means you can expect to be picking up your knitting stix and credit cards for exciting collaborations with Giles Deacon and Maria Francesca Pepe too. Purl-ease form an orderly queue guys.
For more information visit the Wool and the Gang website.