Sustainable textile favourites: Wool & Alpaca
For warmth in the colder months, nothing beats the warmth of wool, and it is also a good sustainable textile to include in your wardrobe. Not all wool is made equal though, on the sustainability stakes nor on the ethics. Generally, if the wool comes from small artisanal farms, traditional farming methods, or certified organic farms, these are the best ways to ensure that your wool stacks up the best on ethical and sustainability scales. Aplaca is generally more sustainable than wool, and more likely to be ethically raised than wool from sheep. But there are many wool options that are genuinely ethical and sustainable.
Of course, if you are vegan, you may prefer not to wear wool at all. But I have a vegan friend who keeps rescued battery hens among many other things on her farm, and she also knits with wool she combs from her cashmere goats. There are ways to choose wool that is cruelty-free too. For a full understanding of the considerations in relation to wool, you can read the textile review of ethics and sustainability of wool, or check out the Guide to Sustainable Textiles.
Here in Australia we are in our second month of Spring, yet the cold has come back so fiercely that there is even snow on the mountains surrounding Canberra. Considering that this happens only occasionally in Winter, this says lot about the wild weather that is happening. (Year-by-year the effects of climate change are become in more pronounced.) So I am still thinking about winter woollies, even through we should be heading in to summer. In the northern hemisphere, now is a good time to assess your wardrobe and plan ahead for winter.
If you are needing of some new winter warmth for your wardrobe, here are some of my favourite options, along with a few other woolen goodies that I’ve found:
- Zig-zag Clutch by People Tree, Fair-trade certified and made with wool and handsewn glass beading. On sale too!
- Wool & The Gang DIY Grey Snood Kit, this is one for the slow fashion DIY enthusiasts. But it is also a perfect beginner project, if you want to give slow fashion DIY a try. The kit comes with chunky wool, which is quick to knit, as well as the knitting needles that you need for the project and all instructions. Perfect project to learn to knit with. Other kits by Wool & The Gang can be found on ASOS
- Wool Coat by Zady the perfect winter essential for colder climates. Timeless style that will last, in my favourite neutral colour- black. An investment that will probably give you 20 years of wear.
- ASOS Made in Kenya Hooded Throw on Coat is made by the SOKO Kenya factory. Based in the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya, it provides ethical, sustainable jobs in one of Kenya’s poorest districts. This provides sustainable livelihoods in an area where poverty drives high rates of wildlife poaching and prostitution. Other Made in Kenya goods can be found on ASOS
- Beth Jumper in Grey by People Tree, handknitted and Fair-trade certified. On sale too!
- Aida Cardigan in Red by People Tree, hand-knitted and fair-trade certified
- Turtle Neck Sweater by Zady, another winter essential that is worth the investment
- Men’s Alapaca Sweater by Zady, great winter officewear for the men in your life, made with beautiful Alpaca wool from Peru, the natural habitat of alapacas where this textile has been used for thousands of years. The colour is also natural, so no dying involved at all. And the wool is spun in a facility in Peru which is powered by solar panels
- Esme Wool Cream Jumper by People Tree, Fairtrade-certified and hand-knitted from a wool and banana fibre blend. On sale too!
- Wool & the Gang DIY Pompom Beanie Kit another one for the slow fashion DIY enthusiasts and beginners alike. The kit comes with wool, wooden knitting needles and instructions. Perfect project to learn to knit with. Other kits by Wool & The Gang can be found on ASOS
- Lightweight Alpaca Sweater by Zady, made with lovely sustainable Alpaca wool rom Peru, the natural habitat of alapacas where this textile has been used for thousands of years. The colour is also natural, so no dying involved at all. And the wool is spun in a facility in Peru which is powered by solar panels
- Hand-knitted Bear Hat by People Tree, fair-trade certified. Another much like the panda mittens. I wouldn’t wear it myself, but my little ones would probably enjoy it if I did. Perhaps one for the dress up box. On sale too!
- Hand-knitted panda mittens by People Tree, fair-trade certified. Cuteness overload. They certainly aren’t for everyone, but they would make a great gift for little ones in your life. On sale too!
Hopefully that helps you with your planning for your winter wardrobe. For the vegans in the audience, I will have some more sustainable textiles posts in coming months.
If you are curious about your sustainable textile options, and want help to do your own research, I recommend my Guide to Sustainable Textiles. It has 60 pages of coverage on the sustainability and ethical considerations of all the major textiles. At only $9 is an affordable option that empowers you to assess the ethics and sustainability of your favourite garments.