Hi, I’m Rose founder of Rove Knitwear and this is me in our Margate based studio packing up an order for one of our Independent stockists.
It was during my first year studying textiles at Winchester School of Art I found myself drawn to knitwear design and manufacture. I relished each process from sketching initial ideas to creating the final product on machinery.
ETHICALLY SOURCED, NATURAL YARNS
I started my career first interning for Nicole Farhi then designing knitwear for a studio in South London. During my time there I saw some of my designs mass produced in synthetic fibres which unsettled me however this was the driving force that lead me to start my own label using ethically sourced, natural yarns spun in Britain
KNITWEAR 100% MANUFACTURED IN BRITAIN
Founded in the Autumn of 2013, Rove Knitwear began at a workstation set up around the kitchen table. The label was born from a desire to find quality, long lasting knitwear manufactured in Britain using British spun lambs wool.
Rose Brown sustainability commitment
Products that aren’t made to order in our London studio are knitted in our factory based in Greater Manchester. The factory pass a yearly Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA.) SMETA is an audit procedure which is a compilation of good practice in ethic audit technique, it uses the ETI code and local (UK) law as the measurement tool. SMETA covers Health & Safety, Labour Standards, Environment and Business Ethics. During visits to the factory Rose has spent time with the workers in both the machine room and where items are made up and finished. “Frequent trips are imperative to have confidence in the transparency of our label.” We source all our materials from Great Britain. This enables us to have more transparency and a better relationship with the companies in our supply chain. We are also passionate about investing in local enterprise and supporting our neighbours.
Rove Knitwear offers paid (working wage) internships to students who want to learn more about design, making and running a small business. Our spinning mill also nurtures new talent through sponsorship of students at over 15 fashion colleges and universities each year to encourage students to foster new challenges in cashmere product innovation.
It is hard to challenge wool for its sustainability (sheep are not intensively reared). Wool, like hair, occurs naturally and is renewable i.e it quickly grows back. It is also a valuable bi-product of the meat market.
The fleece for our yarn comes from sheep reared on farms which do not practise mulesing. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike. Although it is more expensive, this procedure can be avoided by more regular shearing.
Sheep are part of the natural carbon cycle, consuming the organic carbon stored in plants and converting it to wool. “50% of the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.” Woollen textile products tend to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures which has a low impact on the environment too.
We hate plastic, so much so that we’ve started a discussion with our suppliers to question their plastic packaging. While this is in debate we have sent alternative packaging for them to send forward our materials in. Some plastics are still unavoidable… our yarn comes spun onto plastic cones, which we utilise or return to the factory to be re used. Polythene bags that the yarn arrives in for protection are used to protect our yarn from moths, then reused to bundle items for wholesale deliveries. Large boxes which both our yarn and knitwear deliveries arrive in are reused and sent back out to stockists containing our wholesale orders. Our mail orders are sent in 100% recycled, recyclable, biodegradable paper bags and promotional material is printed onto 100% recycled card.
Our business generates very little waste. Unlike making items from woven cloth, you can create a piece of knitwear using the exact amount of yarn required. Ie. we knit the finished article on the machine and then it is ready for washing and finishing, there’s no cutting, no throwing away. Wool products have longer lifespans than other textile fibre products, if you invest in a decent wool jumper or scarf, you will never throw it away and it can last for generations. Statistically wool is one of the most recycled fibres. With a market share of 1.3% of all textile fibres, wool claims 5% within the recycled fibres market. And finally, at the very end of its lifespan, wool biodegrades readily, releasing important nutrients into the earth.
As we have previously mentioned, all our materials are sourced within the UK, because of this we also have a much lower carbon foot print than most, even the location of our factory means that trips are made by rail!
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