Illustration by Danielle Andrews
London is phenomenal, a vast ever evolving metropolis where nothing stays still and sleep is for the dead. As much as it tires you out, the frenetic pace of life is what keeps us all going. The thing is: growing up in Dublin, there are times where I yearn for something a bit more relaxed. From almost anywhere in Dublin you can see the mountains and countryside, (From almost anywhere read: my house, and if I’m honest only the Irish call the Wicklow Mountains that, to most others they’re big hills). Try doing that in London. The parks are gorgeous, but they just dont cut it.
On Monday though, Wool Week stepped up to the plate to help alleviate this pastoral longing. In order to champion the cause of the British Sheep Farmer, and the wonder natural resource that is wool, Savile Row was over run with our four-legged friends. Now, these were the cleanest sheep I had ever seen – but it was great to bring the countryside into town. The week was later launched in style by a fantastic party in Selfridges attended by the great and the good.
The initiative which was set up by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, who champions the cause of wool. Shocked by the fact that it can cost a farmer more to shear a sheep than the value of its fleece, Charlie set up the cross-industry Campaign for Wool. Sure, we all have our favourite big wooly jumpers perfect for winter, but the fact is wool can be used in a huge variety of ways. From aerospace to insulation, wool has a huge range of uses. I’ll be honest though, I’m not too concerned about them. Championing great British fashion that uses wool on the other hand is another story.
The fine gauge knits of John Smedley, Pringle‘s innovative and directional intarsia, organic products from Daniel Hechter at John Lewis, traditional tweeds at Hackett and a lovely thick Crombie all show just how versatile wool is. There is a very good reason Britain used to be swamped from shore to shore in woolen products. Aran sweaters, cricket jumpers and kilts all make up part of our rich cultural heritage. This should be celebrated! Yeah, they shrink in the wash – and some fibres can be itchy as hell (though with modern spinning techniques less so than the past) but don’t think of that awful school jumper you had growing up. Think of your gran knitting you that somewhat hideous jumper out of love. Think of the glamorous Tilda Swinton in Pringle. For heaven’s sake, think of the Queen in her twinset and pearls. Get behind Wool, leave the polyester blends behind.
If nothing else do it for the sheep….
National Wool Week runs until Sunday
Aran, british, Crombie, Daniel Hechter, Dublin, Farming, Hackett, HRH, John Smedley, knitting, Prince Charles, Pringle, Queen, Savile Row, Selfridges, sheep, Tilda Swinton, Wicklow Mountains, wool, Wool Week
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- Izzy Lane: an interview with ethical knitwear designer Isobel Davies
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