A couple of years ago I was very lucky to be invited to Thyme Boutique in the Cotswold, an idyllic hideaway in the English countryside, celebrating slow living, sustainability and homegrown food. The grounds are so inspirational and you can borrow a pair of wellies for a walk in the countryside, or to the local pub, which has by far the best Scotch egg in the world!
During my visit, we discussed a little collaboration of cosy alpaca socks that could be worn with the Thyme Wellies during frosty winter walks.
Sustainably sourced, spun and made in Britain with a sprig of thyme embroidered on. The GS X Thyme walking socks are a must-have accessory for all countryside adventures. Some exciting products to follow soon…
I would love to share with you a “Question Thyme” my interview this month on the Thyme website below:
Genevieve Sweeney‘s knitwear is a premium British brand that showcases interesting, innovative artisan skills and the rich heritage found within the British knitwear industry. As a young designer, she has become a real advocate for British textiles and we were thrilled to collaborate with her in creating alpaca socks for our ‘Take a Little Thyme’ collection. She is a dynamic and truly inspirational young businesswoman, so it was good to catch up and find out a little more about her background and hopes for the brand.
Your early career was working with brands such as Rag & Bone, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Lyle & Scott … what prompted you to launch your own label in 2015? I was incredibly lucky to have worked for some global brands in the first few years of my career, starting in New York, then Switzerland, before returning to London. My roles differed from designer to creative development to production so I learnt so much about how to take a garment from sketch to the shop floor. When I returned to the UK, I rented a studio and started to buy old knitting machines to restore and knit design ideas in my spare time. One summer, I talked my husband into a holiday in Scotland to meet an ex-knitter who was looking to sell an old knitting machine that had been stuck under his stairs for over 15 years. It took me about 3 months to restore but it is one of my favourite machines to knit with. During my trip I met the machine owner’s nephew who once worked in the knitwear industry in the 1980s before the factories closed down, he introduced me to a network of hidden knitters and I really fell in love with their high-quality skills and extreme attention to detail. They used techniques you hardly ever see in the industry, particular knitting by hand. I became very concerned that these skills will one day die out within the next 10 years so started working on a few projects with these knitters. After a few months, I realised I had the start of a collection forming, so I took the jump and decided to launch my own label celebrating and reinvigorating the UK knitwear industry using artisan skills with contemporary design.
The fashion industry is becoming more concerned with provenance and ethics but there is still a long way to go. Are you optimistic about a sustainable future? I believe that the fashion industry is taking a new route with sustainability and ethics, but I agree there is still a long way to go. When I first started working in fashion I couldn’t believe the amount of wastage and air miles that went into designing a garment, from sketch to prototyping, to sampling, fashion brands and factories were happily sending swatches across the globe and at least 50% was never used. This also affected my decision to manufacture in the UK as it greatly reduced my carbon footprint but also I would be sure that the working conditions of the factories were the best they could be. When sourcing yarn I work with some incredible yarn mills, using solar panels to power their mills, turn wastage cotton to paper and use environmentally friendly bacteria to clean water used for dying yarns so that it can be then used for agricultural irrigation.
How does alpaca compare to sheep’s wool as a material? Alpaca does have a few special characteristics. Not only is it warmer than wool, if you suffer from irritation of wool, alpaca would be your solution! It has no lanolin in the fleece which makes it hypoallergenic and very suitable for delicate skin. Alpaca and Wool yarns are both incredible fibres: biodegradable, renewable, and sustainable.
Continue the Interview here
Discover the GS Sock collection here