As a British Designer, I have always focused on the sustainability of my collections from the herd to a jumper. Sustainability in fibres, promoting local craftsmanship and ethical manufacturing has always been at the heart of GS Knitwear and I hope to illustrate how powerful making slow fashion choices can be. During the last year I have slowly moved away from the hungry fashion timeline and now focusing on one collection a year that is timeless with a unique contemporary feel.
I would like to take the time to share with you 6 top reasons to shop sustainable, choose slow fashion this year and what makes Genevieve Sweeney knitwear so special.
1. HANDCRAFTED ARTISAN SKILLS
Genevieve Sweeney was formed after a chance meeting with a Hand Intarsia knitter, a gentleman who had such passion to knit but lost his highly skilled job in the 1980s when manufacturing moved to China. I started to work with the knitter to help him build a more contemporary handwriting after my first design was made, I knew that the GS label was born. I completely fell in love with the Hand Intarsia technique and it fuels my design inspiration creating unexpected colour combinations and geometrics whilst reemploying highly skilled knitters back to the industry.
Handcrafted knitwear is slow fashion, a process that takes time, precision and care that creates the highest quality garment and stands the test of time. I feel that it is incredibly important to preserve our textile heritage, but due to closing factories, we are missing a new generation of knitters. If we don’t continue to manufacture in Britain, we will lose these skills completely. Therefore I am building plans for the future, to set up apprenticeship schemes and to inspire a new generation.
2. MADE IN BRITAIN
Genevieve Sweeney knitwear is manufactured across the UK, from Derbyshire, Leicester, The Scottish Borders, Hertfordshire and London. My goal has been to supporting local manufacturers as well as bringing awareness to the importance of product provenance and reinvigorating a diminishing trade. Another reason I decided to manufacture in the UK, is that it hugely minimises the brand’s carbon footprint and environmental impact compared with large global supply chains who manufacture in the Far East. In some cases, my yarn and jumpers are produced within a 15-mile radius, including fleece from a herd in the Scottish Borders, which is spun a mile away then knitted 12 miles south from there.
The yarns I source for my collections are either from Yorkshire, Scotland or Italy. The mills I work with are all committed to limiting their environmental impact and reducing their carbon footprint.
The Italian spinners, in particular, are inventing innovative ways to reduce their eco-impact. Such as using solar panels to run their factories, using eco-friendly dyes which enables them to recycle and reuse the dye water so it can be used for agriculture, as well as sourcing ecological raw fibres.
4. FAIR LIVING WAGE
All the knitters I work with are paid a fair living wage which represents their highly skilled talents. From cottage industry and suppliers, women and men, I make sure that an equal fair living wage is paid to everyone that is involved in the manufacturing of GS knitwear. Most of all, everyone that manufacturers for me absolutely loves their trade and is incredibly passionate about the work that they do.
5. RENEWABLE YARNS
The majority of the GS collection uses sustainable fibres that are renewable, reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. Wool is a perfect example of a natural material that embraces all these elements. As well as having fantastic powers to regulating your body temperature during hot and cold conditions.
Through my product descriptions, videos and my day to day life on Instagram, I illustrate the journey each garment takes, from herd to yarn to jumper to give you a transparent overview of premium quality knitwear.
Sharing the properties and characteristics of the yarns, the craftsmanship of manufacturing and where it was made, bringing together all 6 sustainable factors listed that embrace Slow Fashion.
So this season, consider the journey of your wardrobe and its longevity.
I can promise that GS Knitwear truly stands the test of time with its luxuriously quality, craftsmanship and finish.
Premium British Knitwear that will become cherished items in your wardrobe, year on year.