Sustainable Spring Knits
Knits and cool weather have always gone hand in hand, and with spring approaching, we’re looking for options that can carry us through the cool breezes that come our way. Still, paying attention to what fibers are used in our knits is only normal in our quest for a considerate wardrobe.
Cashmere used to be one such luxury wool that could only be found in high-end shops, but now you can find this fiber in many affordable places. That seems great, but have you considered how it has become accessible?
Unfortunately, the biggest issue of overproduction is the impact that it has on the environment. As with every animal-based product, it means that the amount of animals have increased to match the demand of the industry. The number of goats in Mongolia where cashmere is from has tripled to more than 61 million in the last two decades, and the increased grazing has decimated grasslands and caused severe desertification and climate change.
It seems like a lot of weight on that one sweater that you have your eye on, but fret not. There are people fighting back against this unsustainable practice of oversupply and overgrazing, and a lot of other fiber options that can be just as warm. One point to note is that a brand can easily claim their garments are made of cashmere, but is it of quality or not? High-quality cashmere is durable but much more expensive, and cheaper, badly processed cashmere tends not to hold up in the long run.
Recycled Cashmere Mock Neck Sweater (https://www.cuyana.com/clothing/sweaters-and-capes/recycled-cashmere-mock-neck-sweater/20032413.html?dwvar_20032413_color=camel) Recycled Cashmere Soft Wrap Sweater (https://www.cuyana.com/clothing/sweaters-and-capes/recycled-cashmere-soft-wrap-sweater/20032013.html)
The timeless quote of “less is more” fits perfectly into Cuyana’s philosophy. This San Francisco-based brand insists on well-made, durable clothing which only elevates a person’s everyday wardrobe.
Cuyana works with an Italian mill in Bologna to extract cashmere fibers from unwanted garments and repurpose them into good-as-new yarns, combining them with just 5% virgin wool and then reproducing them into ultra-soft, luxurious new sweaters. The wool actually maintains the structural integrity by holding the yarn together. What’s more, Cuyana doesn’t use dyes on
their recycled cashmere, but only sorts the original colors into black, charcoal, and beige to eliminate the excess use of water and energy in the typical dyeing process.
If you’re keen on something different, they also offer a range of alpaca pieces. It’s a hypoallergenic wool which is strong, yet soft, and alpacas are gentler grazers which have less effect on land degradation.
The V NECK – Navy(https://navygrey.co/collections/shop/products/the-v-neck?variant=29586357583942) The COCOON FUNNEL – Ivory (https://navygrey.co/collections/shop/products/the-cocoon-funnel-ivory?variant=32526152040514)
Cool-girl vibes just exude out of Navygrey’s classic and timeless sweaters. This British small business can be traced from “sheep to shop”, which is a responsibility in being transparent with their customers. Superfine Australian merino wool and lambswool from South Africa make up their material of these easy, yet fashionable pieces that make up their core collection with no blends, ensuring that these single-origin wools hold up to the quality that they promise. No hazardous chemicals like chlorine are used in the processing of their wool as they’ve kept the process as natural as possible.
Their focus on creating carefully considered clothing is echoed in their business practices. Producing their jumpers in limited quantities and hand-finishing all of them ensures the quality carries on until the end and avoids excess waste. Fair wages and safe working conditions for their knitters in Portugal ensures that each garment stands up to the promise of sustainability in all aspects, and Navygrey takes utmost care in managing this practice even in their 100% recycled paper packaging. Even with longer timelines due to their insistence of a traceable supply chain, Navygrey is dedicated to continue their quest for low-impact garments.
The Upcycled Cashmere hoodie – Blue Navy (https://artknit-studios.com/collections/woman-1/products/the-upcycled-cashmere-hoodie-blue-navy-woman) The Cropped Sweater with pinces – Camel (https://artknit-studios.com/collections/woman-1/products/cropped-sweater-with-xl-sleeves-camel)
Founded in 2018, Arknit has built a permanent collection focusing on seasonless garments, selling directly to their consumers while maintaining a high standard of production from fiber sourcing to knitting. They have a commitment to using only natural and recycled fibers in their garments, with no synthetic materials. The impact of sustainability happens the most at the raw materials stage and the fiber selection affects how the garment is washed (microplastics, anyone?) and disposed of at the end of its life. The ability to biodegrade or recycle a garment is something that a lot of us forget about when purchasing new clothing, and yet it has much effect on the environment.
With all that in mind, this young brand and its elevated essentials are making a name for themselves with their stylish pieces. Both menswear and womenswear ranges showcase a sense of luxury that is consistent from their cropped sweaters to their knit polos. Just because they use regenerated cashmere, a yarn made from the excess of industry, it doesn’t take away from the soft and cozy feel one would expect from a cashmere sweater.
P.S. Did you know it takes the wool of four Kashmir goats to make just one sweater? Their product information tells you everything you need to know about its sources and how important it is for us to make educated buying choices.
To be fair, it’s understandable why one would reach for the cheaper option in any store, but when it comes down to it, responsibility for our consumer choices is a weight we as an individual must bear. The overconsumption of goods in modern-day society has numbed us to thinking that paying a higher price is something we should shy away from, but luxury is actually something that should be understood as a lifestyle that can be maintained with better choices. Fewer is better, and if you’re considering purchasing one sweater that can last for years instead of five which break down in a season, then the answer is clear. Treasuring and taking care of our clothing is the least we can do. Header image: Gabriela Hearst