A good quality knit will be your friend not for just a season, but for years to come. Many high street and even designer knits are poly blends that lose their shape and bobble rapidly, whereas a properly-made wool, alpaca or cotton knit will stay lovely for many years with the right care – think handwashing, air drying, mending and de-bobbling.
Whether your preference is for stand-out colourful or classic and neutral, there’s a world of ethical brands and knitters to be found online. From brands that recycle deadstock materials and textile waste to makers who produce in small batches with ethically-sourced materials, I've rounded up the names to know and the pieces to add to your 2024 wish list.
Slow Love Knitwear is a small collection of knitted jumpers and tanks, inspired by the coolest '90s vintage knitwear designs, as their sister brand is Pre Loved Edit – curated vintage pieces. Founder Holly knew customers loved '90s, baggy, graphic sweaters, so created a small collection, hand-knitted by artisans in Hong Kong in small batches to avoid waste. We love this winky face oversized design – and all their others.
Lydia is an incredibly innovative creator whose luxury patchwork pieces are made from upcycled deadstock fabrics, textile waste and thrifted items. Her multicoloured cropped cardigans comprised of knit samples produced by the garment industry (that would otherwise be thrown away) are incredibly cute. See also her sweater vests, adorable bonnet-style hats and non-knitted garments from co-ords to blouses.
Super cool stripy brushed mohair knits and amazing knitted tube skirts are all made to order by London-based sustainable knitwear designer Molly. Combining beautifully shaped garments with vibrant colours and innovative hand-dying techniques, Molly’s unique pieces are made fully fashioned (a technique where each garment panel is knitted to the shape of the pattern piece) meaning no yarn is wasted.
These mind-blowingly creative, one-off pieces are designed and handmade from vintage or deadstock luxury materials with love by Evvia Gonzales in Norwich, UK. Each piece is unique, and, while she doesn’t have a size range, the knits stretch to fit a variety of different body shapes. Her drops sell out fast!
These are not ready-made garments, but super cool knitting patterns! For those with creative skills as well as creative taste, these original patterns mean you can knit your own versions of co-ords, from miniskirts and tops to bonnets and bucket hats.
If your taste is more classic than crazy, then Blake London has gorgeous, very timeless ethical knits – in beautiful Scottish wool or Peruvian Alpaca. The cable knits are particularly standout.
You might recognise the dopamine-inducing Colossal Knits, as Hope’s signature designs took over Instagram as the influencer’s favourite. This year’s collection is her most luxurious yet, with all the pieces created from materials such as merino wool and recycled sari silk. They're knitted by hand by a team of 17 local knitters in Northern Ireland.
These are understated, beautiful knits, with the quality and texture of the yarn clearly visible. Designer Paula Delgado has created pieces with elements from Uruguay and Scotland, knits are made in a natural way, with both undyed natural wool and yarn dyed with natural vegetable pigments. The brand also has extremely beautiful clothes upcycled from vintage bedlinen and tablecloths.
Slow fashion designer Lora Gene produces small, considered collections from tailoring to swishy skirts and slip dresses to irresistible knits. Her collection with sustainability writer and activist Aja Barber was full of stand-out pieces. The luxury knits are handmade in Bulgaria from beautiful yarns – at prices comparable to the high street.
This beautiful and unique German knitwear brand is the result of Maike Dietrich’s passion for design and the craft of knitting. UK stockists include Goodhood and FARFETCH. They make a selling point of the texture of knitted pieces, with beautiful, unique colour combinations and attention to detail – like their unique sleeve shapes.